Nachos with cheese. Fish tacos (no salmon!). Grilled corn. Chicken quesadillas. Steak fajitas. Sopapillas.
Sounds like the perfect menu for your Cinco de Mayo party, right? No sooner have you removed your Jedi cloak to celebrate May the 4th being with you than you turn around and grab the sombrero and poncho to celebrate all things Mexican on the 5th of May. And the menu! Well, heck, that’s the easiest part of any Cinco de Mayo party, right?
If you really want your Cinco de Mayo party to stand out from the rest, go straight to the source: Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla. And if you should find yourself in Puebla on May 5, this is the “Mexican food” you could expect to eat. So if you want an authentic menu for Cinco de Mayo, these dishes will more than do the trick.
Don’t worry, you won’t have to replace your beloved burrito grande with Mexican culinary delight made from the meat of moles. The mole that is not the meat is actually a sauce. And, merely to make you more confused, mole sauce comes in all imaginable varieties of color and thickness, though you can’t go wrong on with a thick, dark sauce if you want to include just a little touch of Cinco de Mayo American-style. Whatever the hue and thickness of your mole, it will be covering guajolote, which actually brings Cinco de Mayo closer to a Mexican version of Thanksgiving, hint, hint.
Yes, you read that right. An authentic Cinco de Mayo party menu will include chalupas. But before you go running down to the nearest Taco Bell to pick up Beef Chalupa Supreme with a hard shell, you need to know that the chalupa you will be serving at your Cinco de Mayo party actually looks more like the tostada you eat at your favorite Mexican restaurant. Get some corn tortillas and fry them just until they begin to get crispy, then slather them with either red or green sauce before tossing some onions, chicken and cheese on top.
Chiles en Nogada
For that final touch that allows you to enjoy the authenticity of Cinco de Mayo as a celebration of that victory against the French incursion into Puebla while introducing the festive colors of the Mexican flag so pervasive during the first week of May in many American cities, you could go with chiles en nogada. The combination of green chiles, white nut sauce and red pomegranate seeds brings forth the heritage and culture of an entire nation to your table. And, really, isn’t that Cinco de Mayo is all about?