Confession No. 92 — My new hidden addiction? (Recipe: Queso Fundido w/ Salsa Quemada)

I‘m a channel flipper.

My propensity has introduced me on the radio to everything from XXX-rated talk shows (no kidding) to relatively unknown music from Clem Snide, Seasick Steve and Ray LaMontagne, among others. Flipping through TV broadcasts lately has led me to beautiful places that I never knew existed, docu-dramas about misbehaving felines and strangely compelling Spanish-language soap operas.

And to those shopping channels.

There was a time in my life during which I’d giggle when something arrived via UPS from my wonderful mother in-law. It struck me as funny when we had to sign for ‘fresh’ caramel apples or Italian-style breaded chicken breasts. But, no more.

My new shopping mall
Indoor shopping malls reached their peak of popularity during my childhood. They are the only places in the world where loitering while noshing on warm cookies or tiny beads of ice cream is encouraged. The mall is where, as a 13-year-old, you could try on a $7,000 Tag Heuer before going to the gag store to check out the trashy posters and poop-scented aerosol. Fun stuff.

But, the shopping channels offer even more.

In only four hours of viewing, I learn about the beauty of Diamonique, sodalite pavé and smoky quartz bangles. I also acquire some fashion sense during a 10-minute clearance on floral print stretch denim. Who knew it was all the rage? Did you also know that some vitamins are better than others? The inventor of the world’s best supplements is right there on my TV screen giving me the straight skinny.

During that same four hours, I am able to hear that Betty Sue from North Carolina had been eyeing that 5-in-1 jar opener for months.

‘My husband’s out hunting with the boys, so I thought I’d go ahead treat myself,’ Betty Sue’s sweet little Southern voice emits from my TV speakers.

Constantly nodding and looking at the camera, the host breaks in.

‘Betty Sue … Betty Sue … Did you take advantage of our easy payment plan? ‘

‘Oh yes,’ she giggles. ‘In three months, I’ll own this outright.’

Just as Betty Sue tells the jovial host that her mother is a fan, he offers up a hug and lets her know how lucky she is to have purchased the very last of the cornflower blue-colored 5-in-1 jar openers.

‘We are down to slate grey, cayenne crimson and Hope Diamond blue — all beautiful complements to any kitchen! — Thank you, Betty Sue and tell your mom that I’m a fan of hers too!’

I also discover a new celebrity chef. I’m not sure that she’s written any cookbooks or has fronted her name to a chain of restaurants, but she sure as heck knows her way around that 60-piece salad prep kit, which is available in 27 colors, by the way.

The host says they’ll be bringing in the electronics guru to pitch quasiphonic surround sound speakers — with free shipping and a complimentary doohickey to prevent wire tangles. So, I’ll have to take an hour break, else I could find myself in some serious financial trouble.

But, the mismatched rain boots (Christmas for my wife) and the world’s best ever crab cakes ensure that I’ll be flipping channels again. Real soon.

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If the average cup of chile con queso is a Chevrolet, Queso Fundido is a Rolls Royce. This ain’t your average run-of-the-mill cheese dip. Queso Fundido is a gooey molten skillet of stringy Heaven. And it’s a life experience.

I had my first taste of Queso Fundido back in 1983 at a Mexican restaurant in Dallas. They used white cheese and roasted Poblanos over beef fajita strips. It is often served in restaurants with chorizo — also delicious. My version doesn’t include meat, but a mixture of melting cheeses, smoky Poblano and bright cilantro. Served with Salsa Quemado (roasted tomato salsa), tortilla chips and crostini, this is an off-the-charts appetizer.

Queso Fundido w/ Salsa Quemada

Queso Fundido w/ Salsa Quemado is gooey molten goodness.

1 lb – Mexican melting cheese*, shredded
1/2 lb – Sharp Cheddar, shredded
1/2 lb – Monterrey Jack, shredded

2 – Roasted & peeled Poblano peppers, seeds removed and chopped finely
1/2 cup – Cilantro leaves, chopped

1/2 cup – Beer (optional)

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Combine all ingredients and place in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Place in oven until melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes. (If using beer or other liquid, stir once during cooking.)

*-Manchego, Queso Quesadilla, Asadero; Mozzarella can be substituted.

Make a well in center of melted cheese, add warmed Salsa Quemada. Serve directly from skillet with corn chips and crostini.

Salsa Quemada

6 – Roma tomatoes (about 1 lb.), halved and seeded
4 – Garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup – White onion, coarsely chopped

1 – Serrano pepper, seeded and chopped (or more, for spicier palates)

1/2 cup – Fresh Cilantro leaves
3 TB – Orange juice

2 – Ancho chiles, soaked in 2 cups warm water for about 15 minutes
Olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place tomatoes on sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Roast for about 30 minutes, then flip tomatoes. Add garlic and onion. Roast for another 30 minutes, or so. Tomatoes should have some light charring.

Allow mixture to cool slightly. Place in blender or food processor with Serrano, cilantro and orange juice. Process until mixture has reached desired consistency, thinning with Ancho liquid (Ancho chiles can be reserved for another use) as desired.

Let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours and season to taste.

Comments

  1. And do they come with free steak knives? 🙂

  2. Oh dear, another mexican dish. I guess this means I’ll have to try it. 😉

  3. My mouth is watering over these recipes! Love quesao fundido and have never made it myself, well that’s gotta change! Sorry about your shopping channel addiction, remember – just say no! 🙂

  4. juanitascocina says:

    My diet says “screw you, Adam”.

    *craving this now*

  5. Oh Adam, I just drooled on my keyboard!

  6. You were wearing floral print stretch denim as you wrote this, weren’t you?

  7. Oh, what a beautiful dip…

  8. Ah man, Queso Fundido is on my bucket list to make. I’ve had a Rick Bayless recipe bookmarked for years. Sorry Rick (In case he follows your blog) but Adam’s recipe looks better.

  9. I nearly dropped a lung laughing when you mentioned Seasick Steve – My daughter LOVES the blues and he is one of her faves too! This Queso is ridiculous! I want it all now – pinned and definitely making soon!

  10. Wow that looks crazy good!

  11. ooo so excited about this! used to eat queso flameado con camarones every week at home…

  12. Geez Adam, could you pop me a quick email before you put your floral stretch denims out on EBay? I’d like to make an offer before those babies go to open auction. You are definitely one of those people who should not have access to a clicker after surgery…you know how they specially warn you about driving or buying anything on line.
    Now let’s talk about that Queso Fundido – I love it!

  13. Wow, easiest recipe ever! Thanks for this and for another hilarious post!

  14. Please don’t quit your day job!!! ha! ha! Although we could see you hosting one of those mega infomercials… just for fun of course.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Hut effect,’ in that manufacturers have begun tailoring them for the masses. A true Mexican or Tex-Mex salsa has only a few elements: tomatoes, onion, jalapeno peppers and fresh cilantro. I […]

  2. […] 2 lbs – Skirt steak 1 cup – Salsa Quemada, or your favorite red salsa Juice of 3 […]

  3. […] use any other Mexican-themed meat — with tacos, tostadas (pictured), eggs or even added to queso fundido.  Want to keep it totally traditional? Feel free to replace the chicken with ground pork. And if […]

  4. […] For starters Whether you’re going Mexican or Tex-Mex this Cinco de Mayo, Shrimp Cocktail à la La Mansion del Prado is never a bad choice to get things going. Or, you might just want to go the more convenient route and serve up a grande platter of savory-gooey Tex-Mex Nachos. At my house, we’re starting the 5th of May menu with the molten goodness found only in Queso Fundido with Salsa Quemada. […]

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