|Maria's Mexican Restaurant||601 D St., Marysville CA 95901|
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Maria's restaurant co-owner spices up shrimp, vegetables
Maria Treto is a busy woman.
The co-owner of Maria's Mexican Restaurant in Marysville splits her schedule between her duties as a restaurateur, chef, Tupperware saleswoman, property owner/manager, tax preparer and mother of four.
But by working around that schedule, she was able to give me an hour to share her recipe for Camarones Rancheros, or shrimp sautéed with vegetables.
"It's simple, quick and easy," she said.
When I first called Maria about sharing a recipe, I asked about her tamales because she's now selling them frozen by the dozen. While she initially agreed, she later realized that it would be a really long video because tamales are a labor-intensive dish. Her second choice was just as good.
The Camarones Rancheros are a variation on tradition, and Maria prides herself on serving traditional Mexican-style food. She attributes their authenticity to their lineage, but she doesn't stop there.
"I start with recipes that come from way back, that our grandparents and great-grandparents passed on. Then I get a little inventive.
"For instance, we have the Steak Chicana and the Pork Chicana, and we thought, if it works with beef and pork, let's try some shrimp in it."
Maria's tenure as a restaurateur began in October 1979, when she and her husband, Rodriego, opened their restaurant in the more than 100-year-old Prindiville House in downtown Marysville.
While the restaurant has a full menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner items, Maria is always looking to expand the business. Her latest way is by offering "Chinese-style Mexican dinners."
By this Maria means complete meals for the whole family, where you pick a main dish — such as Steak Chicana or Camarones Cancun — and you get a quart of rice, a quart of beans and even guacamole. "You get a nice big meal," she said.
As Maria said, Camarones Rancheros is a simple and quick meal to prepare. Preparation and cooking time is less than 20 minutes, if you buy the cleaned and deveined shrimp. But even if you do all the work yourself, it still takes less than an hour.
Maria started by slicing the bell peppers, onions and jalapeño into slim slices.
Her next step was to melt an ounce of margarine and the garlic into a deep skillet. Once the margarine was hot, she put in the shrimp.
She said it's important to keep a close eye on the shrimp and turn them once they start getting pink. "One thing about shrimp, you don't want to overcook it because it becomes rubbery.
"As soon as you turn them over, you add your onions and peppers, then let it sauté a little longer because these vegetables take a little longer to cook. Then add the tomatoes and a little salt," Maria explained.
Once all the vegetables are soft — which takes only a couple minutes of cooking time — the Camarones Rancheros are ready to serve.
• CAMARONES RANCHEROS
Cost: Less than $10
2 pounds large prawns
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow onion
1 jalapeño pepper
1 large tomato
1 ounce margarine
Salt and garlic, to taste
Putting it together
Peel and devein shrimp. Slice all vegetables as thinly as possible.
Melt margarine in a large skillet. Add shrimp and stir until slightly pink. Turn the shrimp and add the vegetables and garlic; cook for another four to five minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
Just before serving, sprinkle cilantro over the dish.
This entree can be served with rice, beans and tortillas.
• • •
The meal I tasted was spicy, but that can be varied by the amount of jalapeño you put in. If you're tougher than I, spice it up; if you're not, you can cut back.
Maria said that the Camarones Rancheros goes well with a nice cold Mexican beer — and since there's plenty, enjoy it with a friend.
Contact Appeal-Democrat reporter John Hollis at 741-2400 or firstname.lastname@example.org