Thompson Zihuatanejo’s Chef Miguel Baltazar Sharing Special Family Recipe

In Magical Towns by Suzanne Koch

During the month of May, guests at Thompson Zihuatanejo can sink their teeth into Chef Miguel Baltazar’s Carne Criolla Tostadas, a unique take on ceviche, using a family recipe passed down from generations.

Chef Miguel Baltazar, who is in charge of CENIZA and HAO, is sharing the story behind the unique dish near and dear to his heart. The Mexican dish was taught to him from his wife and mother-in-law and inspired by the local traditions of their family in Clara del Cobre, a small town in the state of Michoacan.

“Even though my abuela, Teresita, was my mentor and guided me throughout my early years in the kitchen with her discipline, passion for market-fresh produce and an authentic calling for service, the inspiration for our May monthly special at Thompson Zihuatanejo’s beachfront restaurant HAO, comes from the Mother I admire the most — my lovely wife, Alba.”

Chef Miguel Baltazar

Soon after the two began dating, Chef Miguel met Alba’s family in Clara del Cobre, where he fell in love with Grandma Alicia’s kitchen, packed with new flavors he’d never even imagined before. While the wood-fired stove and handmade copper pots and pans immediately caught his eye (Clara del Cobre is widely known for its coppersmith tradition), it was the ceviche tostada that grabbed his full attention.

A non-traditional ceviche, this one was made with local, grass-fed beef: Carne Criolla. A local twist on steak tartare, the recipe had been passed down from generations. His now wife Alba and now mother-in-law taught Miguel the recipe that next morning after visiting the mercado at sunrise. They bought sweet, juicy tomatoes with a not-too-thick skin; white young onions; lots of limes; criollo cilantro and manzano pepper (similar to Peruvian aji rocoto). They then picked up fresh ground beef, at the local butcher, half round for texture and half sirloin for flavor. The final ingredient, homemade pickled jalapenos, was awaiting them back home in the rustic kitchen.

“Over the years, this beef ceviche has become our signature family-day dish. Our kids love it, our friends love it, and we love it because no matter where we are currently living as hospitality nomads, it always takes us back home and we feel and taste the warmth of our family back in Santa Clara del Cobre.”

Chef Miguel Baltazar

Guests can enjoy the authentic dish at HAO throughout May or whip it up themselves using the recipe below.

Carne Criolla Tostadas Recipe (8 servings)

  • 1 lb Ground beef (50% Round – 50% Sirloin)
  • 4 oz chopped white onion
  • 2 oz chopped cilantro stem
  • 2 oz chopped manzano pepper (can be substituted by banana pepper)
  • 5 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 oz pickling liquid from canned jalapeños
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 5 oz chopped heirloom tomato
  • 7 oz refried mayocoba beans (or any other sweet bean)
  • 8 ct corn tostada (baked or fried)
  • 2 ct ripe avocado
  • Cilantro leaves


  • Finely chop the onion, manzano pepper, and tender part of the cilantro stems
  • Macerate for 2 hours the onion, cilantro, manzano pepper and ground beef with the lime juice and pickling juice from the jalapenos
  • Add the sea salt to taste
  • Cook Mayocoba beans with avocado leaf
  • Lightly fry corn tortillas to a crisp
  • Build up the tostadas with a spread refried beans, carne criolla, sliced avocado and cilantro leaves

For more information on Thompson Zihuatanejo, click here.

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