Monday, June 22, 2009

Hot weather, hot salsa!

I just finished running, It was 93 degrees with a dew point of 70 degrees and a heat index of 98 degrees. It royally sucked. But enough talking about hot running; I am going to talk about hot salsa!

I've been on a salsa kick lately. This weekend I concocted a salsa using chipoltes en adobo; smoked jalapeno chiles packed in a tomato and vinegar sauce. This comes in a can, and you will find them at just about any grocery store, generally next to the refried beans, tortillas, jarred salsas, and the like.

Chipotle peppers en adobo sauce are very spicy and smoky. And the vinegary liquid that the chiles are packed in tastes almost like a spicy barbecue sauce. The sauce itself it great tasting in its own right, so I have been reserving that to drizzle on meats.

But I'm making salsa, so I am just using a couple of the peppers here. This is what I came up with over the weekend. The salsa has a pretty lively kick to it, so this might not be for the faint of heart. It isn't screamingly hot; it has a pleasant after burn that kind of sneaks up on you, but it also has a rich, smoky taste. I have been eating this with chips exclusively, but there is no reason it wouldn't be fantastic anywhere you would use a spicy tomato salsa.

My Chipotle Salsa

-1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
-1/2 tsp. dried cumin
-1/4 tsp. dried coriander
-2 medium tomatoes (tennis ball sized or so)
-4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
-1 thick slice of yellow onion
-Small handful of fresh cilantro
-2 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotles en adobo
-1/4 tsp. salt
-Several grinds of fresh black pepper to taste

In a dry skillet over medium heat, add the Mexican oregano, cumim, and coriander. Shake the skillet continuously and toast the spices briefly until fragrant, 30 seconds or so. Toss the toasted spices into a blender.

Return the skillet to the heat and crank it up to medium high. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and slice of onion. The object is to char the outer skin of the tomatoes (but not cook them through), soften the garlic, and to char the onion slightly. This will take a few minutes. Keep turning the tomatoes to try and blacken as many sides as you can.

Once everything is charred to your liking, transfer the ingredients to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut the tomato into large chunks, and try to remove as much of the pulp and seeds as possible. Peel the garlic, and rough chop the onion. Add everything to the blender, including the cilantro, chipotle peppers, salt, and pepper. Pulse until you have a coarsely textured salsa.

Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups of other words, a single serving. ;-)

Until next time,

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