Mexican cuisine is known for its vibrancy and earthy colors, and romeritos are no exception. These wild plants are rosemary-like herbs that are considered to taste very similar to baby spinach. Juicy and stringy, romeritos are most often served during the holidays in various prepared dishes.
Romeritos are also known as sacred herbs in Mexico, and come from the Suaeda genus of plants. They may be prepared and served in similar ways as the vegetable spinach if desired. Prior to using the herbs in cooking, they should always be thoroughly washed and trimmed.
One of the most common ways to serve romeritos is in the form of patties made with dried shrimp. The shrimp is cut as finely as possible and powdered before being mixed into an egg-based batter. This complete mixture is formed into round patties and fried in oil. The patties are added to cleaned and boiled romeritos, along with potatoes. Many cooks also include prickly pear in their recipes.
Some chefs simply use dried shrimp rather than forming patties for an easier, faster meal. Prepared either way, the entire dish is traditionally served in mole sauce during holidays. The dish is usually simply known as romeritos, named after the flavorful green ingredient. New Year's Day is one of the most common times to serve these patties, though they are also popular during Christmas and Lent.
The plants may also be prepared with nutty flavoring agents. Sesame seeds are a common addition to the vegetable, as are peanuts. Almonds may provide the greens with another layer of nutty flavor. Many different herbs and spices may also be added to the shrimp patty or any other romerito dish. Garlic is a common herb coupled with the plant, as are various chiles.
Onions are another vegetable that are often prepared with the romerito plant. Some cooks may opt to include other vegetables besides onions and potatoes as well. Mixing together several types of nuts and spices is a common tactic when preparing the plant.
Cooks should keep in mind that the romerito is a delicate plant that not only needs careful handling, but also cannot be found in most areas. The most common place to find the plant is in a Mexican specialty food store. If the herb cannot be located, most cooks agree that baby spinach may be substituted in recipes, though the flavor and texture may vary slightly.