Kitchen Insider: Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s Barrio Urbano


ChefSilvanaThis month, step into the kitchen of James Beard nominated chef, Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Café and Barrio Urbano. Her recipe for Chilaquiles is a classic morning dish to spice up any weekend.

An authority on bold, regional Mexican cooking, chef Silvana Salcido Esparza has earned a gilded reputation since first opening her original Barrio Café on 16th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix in 2002.

Known for her elevated cooking approach as much as her colorful bravado and fiery point-of-view, her latest vision, Barrio Urbano, is located inside The Yard Phoenix. Here, chef Esparza takes aim at a wider stage of her notable cooking style, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and of course, a serious cocktail program.

Barrio Urbano picks up where Esparza’s Barrio Café left off, pushing and blending the boundaries of what authentic Mexican cooking can be, with personality. From house-made everything, to incorporating exotic varieties of imported Mexican chile, Esparza continues to deliver bold flavors.

Born in Los Angeles, CA, Esparza grew up in nearby Merced, surrounded by the largest agricultural growing region in the world – the San Joaquin Valley. Raised in a family whose rich ancestral heritage dates back to medieval Spain where her family held court as the official pastry chefs for the country’s royal family, the Esparzas eventually emigrated to the New World, to Mexico, in the 1600s, and generations after, California. It was in the Los Angeles area that Esparza’s family legacy of cooking and pastry cemented again, becoming prominent local bakers.

Eventually finding her path to Arizona, Esparza herself took the family’s culinary baton, serving elevated Mexican cuisines with a flair all her own, now considered one of the best Mexican restaurants in the city.

Barrio Urbano is located at 5632 North 7th Street in Phoenix. For more information, call 602.287.9000 or visit http://www.barriourbanophx.com.

CHILAQUILESBarrioUrbano_Chilaquiles
Servings for 2

Los TOTOPOS (tortillas)
6 ea      corn tortillas cut into 8 pieces per tortilla
vegetable oil

Pan fry tortilla chips until golden brown. Place on a paper towel to help absorb the excess oil. (Can substitute high quality store-bought tortilla chips if needed.)

La SALSA (sauce)
10 ea    tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
2 ea     jalapeños
1 ea     garlic clove
¼ ea     onion
salt to taste

You can cook your tomatillos and jalapeños by grilling them or placing them in a 400 degree oven until lightly charred. Remove stems and seeds from jalapeños (you can leave some seeds if you like your salsa spicy). Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Adjust salt to taste.

Los CHILAQUILES (assemble)

In a hot sauté pan, add a drizzle of oil and heat. Add los totopos and la salsa, continue to sauté until the totopos have absorbed the salsa, approximately 3 minutes.
Top with a fried egg (over easy is best!), garnish with sliced avocado and crema Mexicana.  (Can substitute sour cream if needed.)

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