Our Mexico Getaway + Jeffrey’s Salsa Recipes

Despite it being September, Santa Barbara continues to be its warm, sunny idyllic self. Jeffrey and I have been taking in the slowness that comes from these balmy summer nights, and reminiscing about our amazing Mexico getaway that we took in July. We stayed at the beautiful Verana, a boutique hotel located on a luscious hillside in the small town of Yelapa. We soaked in our own private plunge pool, slept outdoors and indulged in amazing, fresh cuisine.

We took a boat to Yelapa, where we were greeted by mules.

They transported our luggage up the hill to our accommodations.

One of our favorite memories from the trip was an incredible salsa making class, followed by a tequila tasting. We learned how to make seven different salsas, a pico de gallo and a guacamole, and while they were all made from pretty similar ingredients, each one was unique and delicious. Jeffrey took studious notes in hopes to recreate his favorites at home and this warm weather has been the perfect time to give it a go.  Lucky for me, I get to be the taste tester.

A couple weeks ago, Jeffrey shared how to make our three favorite salsas on Instagram Live and as promised, we are recapping here with the recipes so you can make them at home too. Not only are they super easy to throw together, but they involve minimal ingredients and can be used for anything from dipping chips to topping fish.

SPICY AGUAMOLÉ

The perfect blend of creamy with a kick, Spicy Aguamolé is made using an avocado, three tomatillos, a small handful of cilantro (plus stems), 1/3 white onion, three cloves of garlic, juice of one lime, jalapeño, a teaspoon of salt, and half a teaspoon of black pepper.

If you don’t like too much spice, remember that the kick in a pepper isn’t concentrated in the “meat” of the pepper or even the seeds. It’s in the pith or the white part that connects the seeds to the “meat” of the pepper. So, if you want to cool the pepper remove part or all of the pith.

Simply the chop veggies, blend until smooth, and serve – it couldn’t be easier!

If the blender needs a bit more liquid, add a dash of water to get things going.

Spicy Aguamolé is great as a dip for chips – we prefer the thick, restaurant style – or slathered over eggs for breakfast.

Jeffrey is working on perfecting his homemade chip recipe… so stay tuned!

LAZY SALSA

It’s called Lazy for a reason. This super simple and versatile salsa is made with the classic ingredients: three plum tomatoes, 1/3 white onion, two cloves of garlic, juice of one lime, small handful of cilantro (plus stems) and a jalapeño. Chances are you already have everything on hand or it’s easy to come by.

Give the veggies a quick chop, add the lime juice, a teaspoon of salt, a half teaspoon black pepper, and pulse in the blender… and keep it chunky, like pico de gallo. I find it helps to chop and mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon first before pulsing. This way everything will get an equal shot at being pulsed without becoming liquified.

As before, if you need more liquid, add a dash of water to get things going. If it’s too spicy, add a little more salt.

Transfer to a sauce pan and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Once the color goes from a reddish/greenish color to a brownish hue, you have arrived.

Pour into a bowl and serve warm or cold – either way is delicious.

I personally love to double dip the Spicy Aguamolé and Lazy Salsa.

DRUNKEN SALSA

This is one of Jeffrey’s favorite salsas for a few different reasons. It involves mezcal, lighting things on fire, and did I mention, mezcal? The Drunken Salsa gets its name from the addition of mezcal, a smokier cousin of tequila made from any one of 30 different agave varietals. The ingredients include the usual suspects – three plum tomatoes, 1/3 white onion, two cloves of garlic, small bunch of cilantro (with stems), a teaspoon of salt, a half teaspoon black pepper – and in Jeffrey’s version, it gets its kick from a habañero pepper.

Chop the onion, tomato, pepper and garlic and sauté in a skillet until charred. I prefer using a cast iron skillet, but any skillet WITHOUT a non-stick coating will do. Once everything is cooked through, and there’s a nice coat of “fond” on the skillet (the bits of the veggies that have burned and stuck to the skillet), pull off burner.

Pour a shot or two of the mezcal to deglaze. Put the skillet back on the burner, but be very careful as the Mezcal will ignite and cause flames… which is what you want it to do. Let it burn down, and once the flame is gone, scrape the bottom of the skillet to dislodge all of that tasty charred fond.

Transfer ingredients to the blender, add another splash of mezcal, the cilantro, salt and black pepper, and blend. If you are serving this to a mixed crowd of people above and below the legal drinking age, use water in the blender instead of mezcal. The alcohol content of the mezcal used in the skillet will burn off, but the mezcal you pour into the blender will retain its kick.

Taste… add more salt if too spicy. The effect of all of this is to give this salsa a smokey taste that is deeeelicious.

I like to serve all three salsas individually in our small Spako dishes with a side of chips. The warm hue of the stoneware and folk art detailing brings back wonderful memories of our time in Mexico. Thank you all for following along as Jeffrey navigates the art of salsa making. We hope you enjoy these delicious salsas as much as we do.

Caroline  xo

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