Although wine and cocktails are popular food pairings, beer has started to join the party, providing a more casual yet tasty alternative pairing to dishes. Dos Equis Ambar is a classic Vienna-style Mexican beer established in 1897 with a full body and a smooth finish. Dos Equis Ambar is a 4.7% ABV lager distinctly flavorful beer and pairs particularly well with Mexican cuisine. Toting such an international pedigree, we decided to branch out from your typical cerveza and lime, and challenge six chefs from all over the U.S. to come up with a dish that pairs with Dos Equis Ambar. Check in every month to see what culinary deliciousness these creative masterminds have cooked up!
Matt D’Ambrosi grew up in Corte Madera, right on San Francisco Bay, so it’s not surprising that he loves to cook seafood. “I grew up cooking in my house,” D’Ambrosi says. “Then I lived in Cancun, Mexico for a year, which was where I got my first cooking job at a very young age—no labor laws there!” After stints at Picco in Larkspur, California and Waterbar in San Francisco, D’Ambrosi has been heading up the kitchen at Mezcalito—a bar and restaurant whose food D’Ambrosi describes as “California cuisine with Oaxacan influences”—since it opened almost six months ago in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. D’Ambrosi adds, “I love cooking all kinds of food, Mediterranean, Italian, French; but Mexican is my personal favorite.”
D’Ambrosi’s dish combines his love of seafood and Mexican food in battered fish tacos. “Whether it’s hamachi from Japan, or Miyagi oysters from the Pacific Northwest, I try to use the freshest seafood. We use Costarella Seafood for a lot of our sourcing, but I’m also a big fisherman, so sometimes we’ll get seafood from fellow fishers off private boats,” D’Ambrosi reveals. The particular fish used in these tacos is a local rock cod, dipped in a Dos Equis Ambar-laced batter, then lightly fried. The fried cod is wrapped in a housemade tortilla and topped with a cabbage carrot slaw and chipotle aioli. “Beer is great addition to a fry batter,” D’Ambrosi explains. “The bubbles help keep the batter light and give the dish a background beer flavor. Dos Equis Ambar is perfect, both in the batter and as a complementary beverage, because you don’t want a beer that’s too dark and heavy, but still want one with a richness of flavor. It gives the tacos a really nice flavor without being too overwhelming.”
As for the pairing of beer and tacos? “Everybody eats those two together in Mexico!” D’Ambrosi laughs. “It’s a classic combination that is truly Mexican.”
This is our last installment of Pairing with Dos Equis Ambar, and we hope you’ve enjoyed meeting chefs from all over the country and seeing the creative pairings they’ve cooked up for us. From fan-favorite sauces to perfectly grilled steak to salt-rimmed Micheladas, Dos Equis Ambar has proven to be the perfect pairing with flavors that celebrate all regions of Mexico.
Local Rock Cod Fish Tacos
By: Chef Matt D’Ambrosi – Mezcalito
½ rock cod
12 oz. Dos Equis Ambar
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup corn starch
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. salt
2 Tbs. smoked paprika
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs. chipotle purée
½ cup lime juice
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
Cabbage Carrot Slaw
½ head of green cabbage (shredded)
1 large carrot (fine julienne cut)
½ bunch cilantro (rough chopped)
6 oz. fresh masa
1 Tbs. manteca (lard)
Cut rock cod into two ounce strips and set aside.
Preheat deep fryer or Dutch oven pot of oil to 375°In a bowl combine all dry ingredients (flour, corn starch, salt, paprika) and whisk together. Slowly add Dos Equis Ambar while whisking dry ingredients until smooth and all clumps are gone.
In a separate bowl combine all ingredients for the chipotle aioli. Whisk together until smooth. Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro. Mix together until slaw is evenly coated with chipotle aioli. Preheat plancha or pancake pan on medium heat. Line a tortilla press with waxed paper on each side and place 1½ ounce ball of masa in the middle and press until masa is about 1/4 inch thick.
Place rock cod in the beer batter ensuring fish is evenly coated. Batter should be thick at this point. Slowly place fish in the hot oil, slowly pulling it back and forth before releasing the piece of fish in the oil. Repeat this process until all fish is in the oil. Fry fish for about 2.5 minutes. Remove from oil and place on a paper-towel lined tray. Salt the fried cod immediately.
Put 1 tablespoon of manteca on the plancha or pancake pan and place fresh pressed tortillas in pan, cooking on each side until golden brown and crispy. Once tortillas are finished, place one piece of cod into tortilla. Top with slaw and a pinch of cilantro.