June 22 2010, 9:53 AM
Those looking to add more kick to Mexican recipes should heed the advice of celeb chef Rick Bayless, winner of Top Chef Masters season one, host of Mexico---One Plate at a Time, and chef-owner of Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, XOCO, and Frontera Fresco restaurants. Over the weekend, at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Bayless sprinkled his cooking demos with the following tips: 1) When recipes call for hot green chiles, choose serranos over jalapeños (the heat is still fiery, but the flavor is more consistent). 2) Double the shelf life of dried chiles by storing them in the freezer. (Whole, dried chiles will last a year, while ground ones will last for six months.) 3) When pairing wine, Bayless' sommelier, Jill Gubesch, recommends matching the wine to the sauce rather than the protein. The key is finding a wine that complements the chiles' fruity nuances. For example, a 2009 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc would pair well with a serrano-based green-almond mole.