El Macho’s Volcanic Shark & Salsa


So my husband and I recently hosted a superheroes and villains-themed party for our birthdays. The task was simple, come as your favorite, or make one up — the crappier the better. I originally had hosted a villains party for my birthday in 2013, inspired by the final party scene in Dr. Horrible. It was a fun and wacky affair with dollar store prizes for best & worst villain, as well as best evil laugh.

Since we were both turning the big 3-0 this year, and also since his birthday is too close to Dragon Con for anyone to be available, we added heroes to the mix and had a grand old time.

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As Captain Con-Swag and Raptor Man!

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With Professor Utonium and Angelica Pickles

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Ash Kill’em

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Ronald McJoker and Wendy Quinn

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Even Captain Hammer joined in on the fun!

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Since I can’t help but cook something for large groups of people, even when I probably shouldn’t, I decided to make up something from one of my favorite films: Despicable Me 2. My friends, I give you El Macho’s Secret Salsa!

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El Macho, as you know if you’ve seen the film, is as his name states. The man shoots down tequila with snake venom and dies by strapping fireworks to his chest, and airdropping himself into an active volcano while riding atop a great white shark. With this in mind, I wanted to make something that tasted like it was kissed by fire and smoke.

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I decided to make a salsa that was equal parts salsa roja and pico de gallo. Pico de gallo is also known as Salsa Mexicana because it’s known to be mix of colors reminiscent of the Mexican flag.

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For my greens, I used some fresh cilantro and fire roasted some poblano peppers. White was white onion. Finally for my reds, I used chipotle peppers with adobo sauce, and both fresh and dry roasted tomatoes. Add some lime juice and a few dashes of liquid smoke, you have a salsa recipe putting under the protection of a psychotic chicken.

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El Macho's Secret Salsa

Serves many many people

Equipment: Stovetop, skillet (preferably cast iron), paper bag, food processor or blender.


  • 6 roma tomatoes
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1-2 poblano peppers
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeds and stems removed, plus 1 1/4 teaspoon sauce
  • 1/2 teaspooon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro plus more for garnish
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3-4 dashes liquid smoke


  1. Remove seed pulp and dice three of the tomatoes, add them to a mixing bowl with the diced onion and garlic.
  2. Heat the skillet until hot on the stovetop. Place the remaining tomatoes in the skillet. If you have an electric or glass stovetop, place the poblano peppers in as well.  If you have a gas stove top, turn other burner on an open flame and roast the peppers on all sides on the flame. Turn all vegetables until all sides are charred then remove from heat. Place the each pepper in the paper bag after cooking and roll up the edge to steam the skins.
  3. Quarter roasted tomatoes, discard the seed pulp, and place them in the food processor and blender with the chipotle peppers. Process until the consistency of canned crushed tomatoes.
  4. Cut out and discard the seeds and stems of the poblano peppers and dice. Add all remaining ingredients, plus the tomato puree, to the mixing bowl with tomatoes and onions. Stir until fully mixed, add salt to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with your tortilla chip sombrero.
I actually made a double recipe of this for the party and shark recipes the days after. I still have a large tupperware of it in my fridge. It still tastes great, and has been wonderful in breakfast burritos.

Now I know I promised shark with the title of this post and I intend to deliver. For both of these recipes, you will need to marinate this meat for at least 48 hours to get it tender enough to eat without giving your jaw a workout. I learned this the hard way when we grilled it. Shark meat does not have bones, just cartilage marbled throughout. Luckily, this marinade of margarita mix, smokey mezcal, and agave syrup is perfect to break it down.

First I grilled it and topped it with some salsa, and served it with a seared saffron rice cake.

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With the leftover fillets, I used my new sous vide machine (a birthday present from my daddy) to cook them to temp, and then sear them on a cast iron skillet for some fajitas. Keep in mind that this is only another way of cooking them. You can grill or sous vide them whether you want steak or fajitas. Just keep in mind that you will get a moister, more evenly cooked product in the sous vide. I’ve written this marinade to cook both meals – shark steaks and shark fajitas – for 3-4 people, each. Use half the shark and marinade if you intend to only make one recipe.

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Margarita Marinated Shark

Equipment: 1 gallon sized freezer ziploc bag


  • 1 1/2 cups margarita mix
  • 1/2 cup mezcal
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 2 1/2 lbs mako shark filets


Add all ingredients to the bag, seal and swish around. Refrigerate for at least 48 hours before cooking.

Volcanic Margarita Shark Steak or Fajitas with Secret Salsa

Serves 3-4
Equipment: Grill, or sous vide machine, cast iron skillet, quart sized Ziploc freezer bag per fillet, and stove top.


  • 1 1/4 lbs marinated mako shark fillets
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 1 cup El Macho’s Secret Salsa
  • 6-8 fajita sized tortillas
  • Shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • cooked or canned mushrooms
  • fresh cilantro to garnish


For Grilled Shark:

Heavily season each side of the fillets with kosher salt and pepper. Grill on medium heat 3-4 minutes on each side.

For Sous Vide Shark:

Heat water bath to 135° F. Place a fillet it each freezer bag with an extra splash of  margarita mix. Slowly lower each bag open into the water, allowing the it to push the air out of the bag and vacuum-seal the fish in. Seal the bag at the top and repeat for each filet. Cook in the bath for 30 minutes. Remove bags from bath and carefully remove the fillets from the bags.

 Heat up the cast iron skillet on the stove top with some cooking oil. Season the fillets liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Add the shark to the skillet when hot and sear for about 1-2 minutes on each side.
For Fajitas:

Let the shark rest for about 5 minutes and the slice into bite-sized pieces. Distribute among the tortillas with mushrooms, cheese, and salsa and serve.

For Steaks:

Let shark rest for about 5 minutes, Distribute among you plates and top with salsa and cilantro before serving.

The Gluttonous Geek