Do I really need to say more than the title? I also considered calling it Drunken Cheese Dip, or The Best Way to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Now someone please hand me a margarita to go with my queso.
One way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (or, you know, Thursday) is with this rich and gooey appetizer. This queso fundido dip is one of the occasional indulgences to be found here on The District Table–and of course when I indulge in a big way, it’s with cheese. I did not come up with this wonderful idea on my own. This recipe is adapted straight from a Rick Bayless cookbook, Fiesta at Rick’s.
My husband and I became big fans of Rick Bayless after he killed it on the first season of Top Chef Masters. I want to eat anything this guy makes, and also be his best friend. His cookbook turned out to be pretty amusing, because (along with the recipes) there are sections about how to throw different kinds of parties. Just your usual type, such as a “Luxury Guacamole Bar Cocktail Party for 12” or the “Casual Weekend Pozole Party for 25 guests of all ages.”
What I really like about the book though is that it is a great resource if you want to try making an authentic Mexican recipe. The thing I didn’t like is that about half of the recipes call for chiles/ingredients I’ve never heard of. And at least one set of instructions start as, ‘ask your fish guy to set aside…’ hmm. No fish guy? Me neither. But as Rick Bayless says about ceviche, “insecurities spring from a lack of knowledge or experience, and I plan to provide the former so that you can gain the latter.” Thanks, Rick. We’re in good hands—the instructions are very detailed for those of us not used to serving such things.
You don’t need to be nervous about trying to make this cheese dip though, because it’s straightforward and simple. And there’s tequila. Hellloooo. I also changed the cookbook recipe (find it here) in a small way by adding roasted poblano peppers.I was surprised at how many veggies actually made their way into the recipe. You can dice all those ahead of time and then make the dip once guests arrive.The queso fundido should be served as soon as you take it off the stove, with chips and salsa or to spoon over tacos. And it will disappear fast, guaranteed.
- 2 medium poblano peppers
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
- ½ medium white onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (or to taste)
- 3 tbsp silver tequila
- 10 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- ⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
- Preheat the oven to broil and move the rack to the top position. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the poblano peppers into quarters and remove the seeds. Place flat on the baking sheet with the skin side up. Broil for 7-9 minutes until the skins are blackened.
- Place the blackened peppers into a paper bag or Ziploc and close. Allow the peppers to steam for 10-15 minutes to loosen the skin. Peel off the skin and dice the peppers. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high. Add the tomato, onion, and jalapeno. Saute for 6-7 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onion starts to soften and brown. Stir in the roasted poblanos and then add the tequila. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly, until the liquid is reduced to a glaze.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the cheese and stir until it is just melted. Top with cilantro and serve immediately.
- Serves 6-8 as an appetizer. Serves 4 in Wisconsin.
- The poblanos are optional.