Let’s get a little fire going in this freezing new year!
At least, I hear the rest of you are all freezing.
Apparently it is bitterly cold in the rest of the country, and something called a Bomb Cyclone hit the East Coast yesterday. That sounds like that storm from The Day After Tomorrow, which was a stupid movie but is apparently coming true now, so stay warm, people! I hope Jake Gyllenhaal can bring you penicillin if you need it.
I can’t say it’s cold here, but we did finally get some rain and also an earthquake the other night, so…no, you are right that is nothing like a Bomb Cyclone.
So if you are like, what can I eat to stay warm, I’ve got a great recipe for you! It’s my version of the totopos from Nopalito here in SF. The dish can sometimes be spicy in the restaurant, but the way I made it at home turned it into a fun finger food that will light your tastebuds on fire and make you sweat out of your eyes.
That oughta warm you up!
The heat comes from a salsa made from arbol chiles, potent little dried peppers that should probably only be used in moderation. I used 55. The salsa recipe said to use the finished sauce “sparingly.,” so I tossed warmed tortilla chips in only about 1/2 cup of the stuff. “Sparingly” is such a subjective direction!
Don’t worry, because the flames in your mouth are slightly tempered by the cooling additions of fresh lime, cilantro, sour cream, and cotija cheese, taming the chile inferno to a lively bonfire.
Look, I hope I’m not dissuading you from trying these. They really are delicious, if a bit painful to get through, but the salsa does mellow a bit after a couple days and you can share the pile with friends, and laugh at who sweats the most while chugging pints of cold milk.
Or, if you have to go shovel some snow, this probably is a great snack either pre or post snow removal. On Instagram yesterday, my brother in law sure looked like he could use these. Though come to think of it, last time he cursed at me was when Claire made my hot chicken wings, so maybe not.
But those of you with more iron-clad tastebuds, I highly recommend!
- 2 tbs canola oil
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 white onion, chopped finely
- 55 dried, stemmed chiles de arbol
- 1 tomato, roughly chopped
- salt, to taste
- tortilla chips
- white onion, diced fine
- sour cream
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- cilantro, chopped
- cotija cheese, crumbled
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook garlic until browned, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes more. Add chiles, cook 1-2 minutes, then add the tomato and 1/4 cup water. Cook, 8-10 minutes until tomato breaks down and chiles are well softened (you may need to keep adding water or cook covered). Transfer mixture to a blender and puree with salt and 10 tbs water. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
- Warm tortilla chips on a baking sheet in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Spoon a good amount of salsa into a large mixing bowl (but start with a conservative amount and add more if desired - this stuff is spicy!) and add the warm chips. Toss to coat chips in salsa, then transfer to a platter and garnish with onion, dollops of sour cream, squeezes of lime juice, cilantro, and cotija.