Eddie Hernandez's food has been a mainstay in Atlanta since 1991, when he and partner Mike Klank opened Sundown Cafe. That now-shuttered restaurant morphed into Taqueria del Sol, a mini-chain of popular Mexican restaurants in metro Atlanta that serve up tacos, queso and other staples of the cuisine.
Hernandez's first cookbook, “Turnip Greens & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen” , written with former AJC food editor Susan Puckett, comes out this week and features recipes for many of the chef's favorites, including Taqueria del Sol's Jalapeno-Cheese Dip. Check out the recipe -- and a video of AJC food editor Ligaya Figueras cooking with Hernandez -- below, and get more recipes from the cookbook, including Chicken-Green Chile Potpies in Puffy Tortilla Shells, here.
Taqueria del Sol Jalapeno-Cheese Dip
Taqueria del Sol’s Jalapeno-Cheese Dip has long been a crowd-pleaser. So much so that chef-partner Eddie Hernandez includes it in his cookbook “Turnip Greens & Tortillas” (Rux Martin, $30), written with former AJC food editor Susan Puckett, to be released this April. “People love our velvety cheese dip and are always asking for the secret to how we make it,” writes Hernandez. “The key is using the right cheese, and here is where it can get a little tricky. We use Land O Lakes Extra Melt White American Cheese, the product most respectable Tex-Mex restaurants choose for achieving this smooth texture that’s just the right consistency for dipping a chip into. Unfortunately it’s hard to find retail, but other white pasteurized process American cheeses from the deli case can come very close, such as Boar’s Head.” Hernandez cautions against Velveeta for this recipe due to the minimal ingredients. “There’s nothing to mask those artificial flavors that keep it shelf stable.” He also discourages using a more expensive, natural cheese. “The sharper the cheese, the grainier it will be,” he says. His final tip: Grate the cheese yourself, just prior to using it so that the cheese does not dry out.
Recipe and text excerpted from “Turnip Greens & Tortillas” © 2018 by Eddie Hernandez & Susan Puckett. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Makes: 5 cups
2 cups milk
8 cups shredded American cheese
1/4 cup diced pickled jalapenos
Fresh jalapenos to taste, diced
In a large saucepan, bring milk to a boil and then remove from heat. Stir in shredded cheese and pickled jalapenos. Whisk till smooth, about 5 minutes. Garnish with diced fresh jalapenos. Serve with tortilla chips.
Per 2-tablespoon serving: 87 calories (percent of calories from fat, 72), 5 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, no fiber, 7 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 22 milligrams cholesterol, 341 milligrams sodium.