I'm going to make a bold prediction here: I see toritos as the next appetizer to hit our Mexican restaurants, especially our finer-dining ones, in a big way. A torito, for those of you who've never ventured south of the border, is a chile güero (a yellow chile that looks like a more bulbous jalapeño) that has been stuffed with seafood, usually shrimp, crab or marlin, wrapped in bacon, and cooked. They're absolutely insanely addictive; they contain seafood, bacon and spicy peppers, things that should appeal to people of a certain demographic, and they go frighteningly well with cold beer.
Until that time, however, you'll need to make your own. I made these last week with a filling that's more like a shrimp meatball than actual shredded shrimp. In one of those inspired–or perhaps just serendipitous–moments, my wife tucked a torito into a section of fresh baguette and a new taste sensation was born. We practically licked the plates clean.
A note about the chiles: while you can buy these at Ralphs and Albertsons, they're a quarter of the price at any Mexican market; the quantity required for this recipe shouldn't run you more than a dollar.
2 baguettes, the fresher and higher quality the better
12 chiles güeros
2 slices soft bread (brioche, white, wheat, whatever you have)
1 lb. good-quality raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. minced onion
Up to 3 Tbsp. water
6 slices bacon, cut in half lengthwise
Salt and pepper
1. Slit the chiles down one side; remove seeds, veins and the seed cap with a spoon.
2. Buzz the bread in a food processor until it's in crumbs, then put in a bowl.
3. Buzz the shrimp until it's shredded, then put in the bowl.
4. Add the herbs, cumin, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and egg to the bowl.
5. Turn with a spatula, adding water bit by bit until the filling holds together.
6. Fill each chile with filling, pressing the chile together so the filling doesn't bulge out.
7. Wrap a piece of bacon around the chile, securing with a toothpick (this will anchor the chile as well).
8. Grill over indirect heat until the bacon is crispy; the chile will be sweetened and done and the filling cooked by this time.
9. Slit the baguette nearly through, so a hinge of bread keeps it together.
10. Cut off the stems of the chiles, remove the toothpicks, and lay six chiles in each baguette.
11. Slice and devour.