I figure I’ll begin this post with a recap, as this is the second in a group of three posts. Top Chef: Masters  drew to a close last week and even though Rick Bayless was crowned the champion , I wanted to honor all three chefs that made it to the finals. I have already tackled Quinoa Pasta with Salsa Verde from Michael Chiarello, which you can see here , so today we take on the winner himself, Mr. Rick Bayless .
Instead of making one of the dishes that was shown on the show, I was in the mood for salsa and thought I would rather make two items from his book, Salsas that Cook : “Roasted Jalapeño-Tomato Salsa with Fresh Cilantro” and “Salsa-Baked Goat Cheese.” Check out both final products:
In the mood for salsa now and ready to get started? I bet you are! First we’ll start with the salsa, mainly because it is an ingredient in the “Salsa-Baked Goat Cheese.”
- 1 1/2 lbs Plum Tomatoes
- 2 to 3 Jalapeños, stemmed (not seeded)
- Half of a small White Onion (1/4″ wide rings)
- 4 Garlic Cloves, peeled
- 1/4 c Water (opt)
- 1/3 c Cilantro, (fresh, chopped and loosely packed)
- 1 tsp Salt (more for taste)
- 1 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- Heat your oven’s broiler to its highest setting (usually “Broil”).
- Place all of your tomatoes and jalapeños out on a baking sheet, then place it on your oven’s highest rack.
- Broil for 6 minutes, then flip (careful! Use tongs). The skins should be wrinked and possibly burnt in spots. This is a good thing.
- Set aside cooked peppers and tomatoes to cool, then turn the oven down to 425°F.
- Place the onion rings and garlic onto another baking sheet and place in the oven for another 15 minutes (check on it every 5 min or so).
- When the onions are soft and browned around the edges, take the pan out to cool.
- Once the tomatoes are cooled, skin and “core” them (peel the skin off, then pop off the hard bit where the stem used to be).
- Place the jalapeños, onion and garlic in your food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Scrape out mixture and reserve.
- Place tomatoes (and juice from the pan) in the same food processor (don’t wash or wipe it down after the onions) and coarsely chop them.
- Add tomatoes to onion mixture and stir.
- Add vinegar and salt to taste.
- If the salsa is too thick, add water to get to the proper consistency.
- Eat… or store in the fridge (covered) for about a week.
That’s it! Here are some “action shots” of the roasted veggies (those “weird” tomatoes are actually black plums, they are greenish on the inside):
Yeah, the photos aren’t the best as my camera is in the shop and I’m using my “loaner.” Anyway, now you have about 2 1/2 cups of salsa… let’s use about a cup and make ourselves a nice “queso” dip of sorts. Now it is time for part two: “Salsa-Baked Goat Cheese!”
- 1/4 c Pine Nuts (walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped will do in a pinch)
- 4 oz Goat Cheese (I suggest plain chevre)
- 3 oz Cream Cheese, softened (Quark would work well, I went with a Sheep’s Brie)
- 1 c Roasted Jalapeño-Tomato Salsa
- 1 Tbs Cilantro, finely chopped
- Heat the oven to 425°F.
- Spread out the pine nuts on another baking sheet and toast them in the oven until a nice light brown (don’t let them burn!). Should take about 7 minutes or so.
- Remove and place in a bowl (keep your oven on).
- Add all your cheeses to the nuts and stir until well combined.
- Get a baking dish (I used a glass pie pan) and place your cheese in the center.
- Spoon the salsa all around (and over) the cheese.
- Put the dish in the oven and bake about 15 minutes.
- Take out, sprinkle with cilantro, and attempt to not eat it all in one sitting.
- Be happy!
Hope you liked these recipes, I know I did. I will say, I will most likely stop buying salsa from the store as this was pretty easy to make and darn tasty. The cheese also works great as a “queso dip” of sorts (just mix it all together). Very good stuff. For those wanting a more “fresh” Salsa, be sure and check out my “Salsa Fresca” post !