I’m thinking of my feisty friend Alfonso (my fiancés father) as Dia De Los Muertos approaches. It’s been almost 5 years since he stepped out of his human life and floated into the other side. I was there as he passed and watched his face go calm in peace. Awwww, that man. He loved to fight with me. I think I was probably the only female in his world brave enough to not agree with his every word. He knew I had a good heart but wasn’t gonna back down. He use to call me his lawyer because when he needed something done or figured out, I was the one he would turn to to get it done. He said I had a persuasive way. When we first met he questioned my ability to cook and doubted I could find my way around the kitchen. I loved proving him wrong. I think he thought of himself as somewhat of a master of the cocina, but the truth was he was seriously the salsa king. I had to give it to him, his salsa rocked. I would bring him empty jars all the time so he never had an excuse not to share his salsa with me. He took such pride in making his salsa and would just gloat to everyone how great it was, and most of the time people had no other choice but to agree. He would set up a bowl of his salsa, a slab of queso fresco, chopped up avocado cubes, and a pile of corn chips, and that combo was his snack.
I used to sit in his kitchen sometimes and watch him make it. I’ve never tried to recreate his perfect salsa since he’s been gone, but I do think of him every time I make my own salsa. I have to eat it the same way he did, with queso fresco (Mexican cheese), avocado, and chips. This Calavera Queso Fresco Salsa Dip is my ode to that lovely grump Alfonso Lopez that I still love and I once knew.
Ingredients for Calavera Salsa Dip:
- 1 – package Queso Fresco
- 3 – tomatoes
- 1 – tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 – jalapeños
- 4- serrano chiles
- 4 – fresh chile de arbol
- 1 – onion (peeled and cut in half)
- 4 – garlic cloves (peeled)
- 1 – teaspoon vinegar
- 1 pinch of dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- 2 – cups of water
- corn chips
- Pistachios, and chile flakes for decorating calavera
- Remove queso fresco from package, and with a small pairing knife cut the sides of the cheese to shape into a skeleton head. Then with a small circle cookie cutter punch out the eyes. Place on a platter and place back in the fridge.
- In a medium pot filled halfway with water over a high flame, bring to a boil. Add in tomatoes and boil for 30 minutes. Set to the side.
- In a frying pan over a medium flame add vegetable oil and allow it to get hot.
- Add in chiles, onion, and garlic cloves. Fry on all sides until charred and browned.
- Remove stems from chiles, and place in the blender with tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves, vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper, and water (I use the water the tomatoes boiled in). Blend until desired consistency is reached.
- Decorate the calavera with chile flakes around the eyes, and use pistachios for the mouth.
- Place calavera shaped queso fresco on a plate, then pour the salsa around the plate. Decorate the edges with avocado cubes.
- Serve with chips.
Im memory of my sweet friend Alfonso… I miss you.