Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Smoky Chile Salsa

In my quest for good salsas, I have been experimenting with various dry red chiles when fresh ones are not available. Smoky chile salsa only looks fiery but is quite tame and delicious with the deep chile flavor of toasted chiles. If you want less a spicy salsa, remove the seeds from all the chiles before pureeing them; on the other hand if you want to kick up the heat a notch or two, leave the seeds in and/or add more chiles. This is an adaptation of a recipe from The New Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas. Another chile recipe to add to my collection :D!

Chipotle chiles (dried Jalapeño chiles) are available in most markets as dry pods or canned in adobo sauce; you will definitely find them in Mexican markets. If using the canned, there is no need to cook them; just use a little or a lot according to taste. Store the unused canned chiles and sauce in a sterile jar in the refrigerator; they last a long time.

I used both chipotle and fresh chiles for their different flavors to add depth and spice to the salsa.


6 dry Guajillo Chiles
1 or 2 Chilpotle and/or fresh Serrano/Jalapeño chiles
6 medium Tomatillos
2 or 3 cloves Garlic
1 tsp whole Cumin seeds, toasted and ground
3-4 green onions
1 small bunch fresh Cilantro
1 Tsp Sea Salt


Toast the dry chiles in a pan or in a hot oven: heat a cast iron skillet or griddle until hot and toast the chiles on both sides until dark spots appear and they puff up; if you roast them in the oven (400 degrees F), cook them only for about 3 or 4 minutes and remove them promptly so they do not burn.

Transfer the chiles to a small bowl of water and let them soak for a few minutes. When the chiles are softened, pull off the stems and discard.

Roast the tomatillos, garlic, and green chile if using in the hot skillet or in a hot oven until the skins are charred; let cool and then peel off and discard the charred skins.

Combine the ground cumin, tomatillos, garlic, green chile and the softened Guajillos in the carafe of a blender and process into a coarse puree. Pour the puree into a sieve placed over a bowl and rub the puree with the back of a spoon. Press and rub the puree well against the sieve to extract all of the salsa; discard the skins and seeds in the sieve.

Trim and wash the green onions: include both the white and green parts; chop finely.

Trim some of the stems from the cilantro, sort and wash well. Chop finely.

Mix the chile-tomatillo puree with the chopped ingredients and add salt to taste.

Delicious served with quesadillas, tostadas, and other Mexican-style foods. Enjoy!!

No comments: