Chef Richard Sandoval started in his grandmother’s kitchen where he spent time with her, learning to use traditional Mexican ingredients for the family.His father, a restaurateur gave Sandoval the business savvy that would turn him into one of today’s most celebrated Chefs and restaurateurs. When visiting any of his restaurants, one can see this combination at work. It is no wonder his flagship restaurant Maya is coming upon its 15th Anniversary in New York City.
Sandoval told us, “My cooking philosophy is simple, I take the Mexican flavors I know and love and combine them with modern techniques to create delicious food. There are so many seasonal ingredients to choose from during the summer and it’s exciting to create new dishes with the season’s finest produce like tomatoes, watermelon, corn, and peaches. The options are endless.”
Chef Sandoval heads a restaurant group of over 30 Latin restaurants which expose the public to the cuisines of Mexico, Colombia, and Peru in locations including New York, Washington D.C., California, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Mexico, Florida, Dubai, and Qatar.
I asked him to go back to his roots, to his grandmother’s kitchen, to give us a few recipes that would translate into anyone’s kitchen. Chef Sandoval’s Heirloom Tomato Salad is the perfect summer treat. Sandoval told us “Tomatoes are at their peak this time of year and you can combine all different kinds and colors to make a beautiful salad. Here, I layer ripe red, yellow, and green Heirloom Tomatoes with Watermelon and Panela Cheese to create a light and refreshing salad. It’s clean, crisp, and perfect for the summer heat.”
HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD - Serves 4
From the Store-
4 large ripe heirloom tomatoes; sliced medium thin
1 granny smith apple; julienned
4 oz panela cheese; grilled, cooled and chopped
2 c sliced watermelon
1 avocado pureed with 2 tbsp Mexican Crema and sea salt to taste (in a blender)
½ c watercress leaves
1 tbsp finely minced red onion
balsamic vinegar; reduced to a syrup (optional)
Papaya and Tequila Dressing*
PAPAYA & TEQUILA DRESSING*
4 oz Apple vinegar
4 oz Agave syrup
1 tsp lime zest
1 oz Tequila reposado
2 oz Lime juice
200 gr Pulp of fresh papaya
5 oz vegetable oil
To Prepare the Dressing-
1. In a small saucepan, heat the tequila, vinegar, agave syrup, lime peel and the lime juice and bring to a simmer.
2. Let cool in the refrigerator.
3. Place in a blender on high speed with the papaya pulp.
4. While the blender is running, slowly add in the oil until fully incorporated.
5. Season with salt and pepper and reserve.
To Build Salad-
1. On a large chilled serving plate, spoon the avocado puree across the middle of the plate.
2. Top with alternating slices of tomato and watermelon.
3. Top with red onion, apples, panela and drizzle with dressing.
4. Finish with watercress leaves and balsamic reduction and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately
Chef Sandoval’s restaurants in New York include