Mike Isabella is an inquisitive man. The last time we checked in with him 
http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/chefs_recipes/4211/%20%20Pork_takes_a_Greek_vacation.htm 
, he was perfecting Italian-American cuisine at his first restaurant, 
Graffiato http://graffiatodc.com/ . Earlier this year, he switched 
continents, moving from Europe to the Americas with Bandolero 
http://bandolerodc.com/ . The restaurant is a product of more than eight 
years of research and a love for the margarita (his secret is finishing the 
classic drink with a mezcal float). Isabella's creamy, flavor-packed take 
on a traditional Aztec pumpkin-seed dip is delicious proof of his intensive 
research. Plus, the dip is darn good paired with chips and a sweet-smoky 
margarita.
   
   
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Thu. 24 May '12
Dip It
Take on an Aztec classic
Bandolero
Mike Isabella is an inquisitive man. The last time we checked in with him, he was perfecting Italian-American cuisine at his first restaurant, Graffiato. Earlier this year, he switched continents, moving from Europe to the Americas with Bandolero. The restaurant is a product of more than eight years of research and a love for the margarita (his secret is finishing the classic drink with a mezcal float). Isabella’s creamy, flavor-packed take on a traditional Aztec pumpkin-seed dip is delicious proof of his intensive research. Plus, the dip is darn good paired with chips and a sweet-smoky margarita.
Sikil Pak (Pumpkin-Seed Dip)
Recipe adapted from Mike Isabella, Bandolero, Washington, D.C.
Yield: 1? cups
INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 medium shallots, finely chopped

2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 medium jalapeño, finely chopped

1 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

¼ cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves

¼ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup water

1 teaspoon orange zest

Kosher salt

Tortilla chips or pita chips, for serving

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large skillet set over medium heat, add the canola oil. Once the oil is hot, add the shallots, garlic and jalapeño and cook until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.

2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and add the pumpkin seeds, parsley, cilantro and lime juice. Turn the food processor on and gradually add the olive oil, then slowly add the water, processing for 1 minute after the water is added. Stop the food processor and transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the orange zest, then season with salt. Serve at room temperature with tortilla chips.

 
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About The Chef

Mike Isabella has worked in celebrated kitchens in New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta, honing his technique and sense of flavor from chefs Douglas Rodriguez, Jose Garces and Marcus Samuelsson. He appeared on season six of Top Chef and he was the runner-up on Top Chef All-Stars. He opened Graffiato in June 2011 and Bandolero in May 2012.

Bandolero, 3241 M St., NW, Washington, D.C.; 202-625-4488 or bandolerodc.com

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