Salsa Picante

Tacos. Tortillas. Burritos. Enchiladas. Just mentioning Mexican food makes me salivate. So, I really looked forward to figuring out what I would discover south of the border. And then I heard about a local story in Piedras Negras. I didn't think it could be true when I first heard it, but my new Mexican friends assured me that it was.

One night in 1943, after the old Victory Club had closed up for the evening, a few tourists showed up at the door. It had been a long day. The staff had already gone home for the evening. But, the chef Ignacio Anaya was still there and the people were really hungry. He just couldn't turn them away. But, what to feed them?

The man sliced up some corn tortillas, tossed them into a deep fryer, garnished them with cheese and jalapeños, and nachos were invented. Like I said, it's a great story. And if it is true, I'm fairly certain Ignacio never got a share of the profits that nachos generate at movie theaters around the globe. However, nachos are a claim to fame for Piedras Negras and the city has a festival to celebrate the treat.

As for the name nachos? Well, according to my research, in that part of Mexico, a nickname for someone named Ignacio is Nacho.

I'm not about to make my own tortillas or nachos. However, my mission was clear. My goal was to learn how to make salsa picante for the nachos I do buy. So on my last afternoon in Mexico, after days of incredible Mexican food (is there any other kind?) I sat down with two of my hosts to gather the necessary recipe.

Salsa Picante
the right way, from the home of the Nachos, Piedras Negras, Mexico
  5 big tomatoes   10 jalapeño peppers
  1 minced garlic   a bit of olive oil

This was so much simpler than I ever imagined when I learned it only had so few ingredients. Rub the tomatoes and peppers in oil. Grill them until they are a little soft and then turn them over. Depending on the flame, you'll need about ten to fifteen minutes a side.

My only concern about this is I'm not a griller. Never have been. The box with a grill sits in my garagem - never opened - gathering dust. I needed to know if you could fry them up in a pan. Well, yes, you could do that or even oven grill them. However, I was assured that it was "mas rico" (richer in flavor) if you used the grill. I must learn.

When everything is grilled properly, toss it into a blender (with the oil) and mix it up. That's it. Well, you might want to make sure the blender lid is secure.

Copyright 2016 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.