Hot kitchen table getaways 

Crafty cooks slay mid-winter blahs with the exotic

click to enlarge SHUTTERSTOCK.COM - best salsa - Look for Best Salsa recipe at the end of the article.
  • best salsa - Look for Best Salsa recipe at the end of the article.

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Sprinkle on salt if you like. Sometimes I add fresh cumin I also get at Que Pasa. Then pop on a tight-fitting lid and cook on low-medium heat just high enough so the salsa burbles up until the fish is done. It usually takes seven to eight minutes. Don't dry it out.

You can also use your best salsa to transform ordinary fried eggs into huevos rancheros good enough for dinner. For two servings, start by cutting two good fresh corn tortillas in half. Que Pasa's fresh corn tortillas are fine, but if you can get your hands on some from El Comal (7650 Winston Street in Burnaby), even better.

If you want to go really Mexican, use lard but otherwise set your burner on medium and heat a generous skim of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. Once the oil is hot, toss in the halved tortillas, cook quickly on one side, then flip onto the other. Use your spatula to keep them as flat as possible, then break four eggs — two per serving — trying for one on top of each tortilla half. This is a bit tricky, especially if you don't have a big enough frying pan, so just overlap your tortillas a bit and on top cozy up two eggs for each serving as you need. Use two pans for more servings.

Get the eggs on the tortilla halves as quick as you can, then gently spoon a generous amount of salsa over each egg, as well as some diced sweet onion, peppers — green, red, jalapeño or whatever you have — and a good sprinkle of crumbled fresh white cheese.

It's hard to find authentic Mexican cheese, but given most were traditionally made by small local operations from goat's or sheep's milk, you'll do fine using a good fresh sheep or goat feta as long as it's not too hard and dry nor too salty (Balkan is best). Toss on a tight-fitting lid and cook just a minute or two until the tops of the eggs are set.

Both of these dishes will really send you if you serve them with good refried beans, which I'll get into on the 24th, good tortillas, and/or rice.

But the salsa is queen. All kinds of commercial products are out there, but I've never found one I really like other than the fresh ones you can get at the Richmond Que Pasa store. Try the tomatillo, the salsa cruda, the Habañero, or the hot salsa. You can even try them on the spot if you stop for a bite.


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