Salsas and Moles
By Deborah Schneider
(Ten Speed, $16.99)
Salsas and Moles is a small cookbook packed with over 65 recipes from cookbook author, chef, and restaurant owner Deborah Schneider. A variety of fruit and vegetable based salsa recipes showcase the unique flavors of Mexico. Following a detailed introduction to chiles is Schneider’s Essential Guide to Fresh & Dried Chiles, which includes photographs, brief notes, and suggestions for working with chiles (Char: blacken vegetables to add a wonderful smoky flavor; Toast: gently cook an ingredient in a dry heavy cast-iron pan to intensify its flavors).
Schneider’s theme, how to introduce and balance big flavors to create sensational effects, is apparent throughout the chapters: Classic Table Salsas, Hot Salsas, Mole and Enchilada Sauces, Salsas for Tacos, and Chunky Salsas and Botanas. She suggests that cooks choose great ingredients and follow recipe directions in order to handle them carefully and develop skills … there are no shortcuts in these techniques. Think al gusto (taste) when it comes to heat; many factors can affect the heat of chile, so start with a small amount the way you might add salt to a recipe. A squeeze of lime might lift the flavor from pretty good to sublime! Salsa can be the magic ingredient that you add to make everything pop.
Each chapter has a detailed description of the recipes within it, including techniques and serving suggestions. For example, Schneider suggests adding a few spoonfuls of table salsa to just about everything to experience an explosion of flavor. Headnotes, serving ideas, and variations are included with easy to follow instructions and an array of color photographs.
Explore the delicious variety of chiles one salsa recipe at a time. Spoon this terrific array of salsas on anything and everything found in restaurants, on street corners, and in su casa.
For over thirty years, Lois Friedman has been immersed in food culture and cookbooks. She has written “Read It And Eat” previews of cookbooks for The Desert Leaf and other local publications, done guest presentations at Canyon Ranch, hosted the Omaha Library Read It And Eat Culinary Conference, taught cooking classes and demonstrations, and now brings her expertise to her Read It And Eat blog for Edible Baja Arizona.