Just when you think you have prepared every salsa or hot sauce recipe possible, someone will tag you in a picture with a salsa that you just have to try. One day last week, my friend Donna shared a picture of a salsa she was enjoying at her local Mexican eatery. She asked if I had ever seen or prepared something similar. As far as I could see, it looked like a tomato based salsa, but was not thick, but more like a hot sauce with specs of toasted chiles. I had a rough idea and off I went into my kitchen. As I have talked about before, tomatoes and dried chile peppers are staples in my kitchen. So, I share with you a few more recipes using dried chile peppers. You never know when you might be challenged to a salsa throwdown! Ha, ha, ha!! Bring it Bobby! Just kidding….but, not really. This was my best guess at the taqueria salsa.
My New Favorite Salsa!!! Until the next one comes along…
Toasted Chile de Arbol Tomato Salsa/Hot Sauce.
1 large vine ripe tomato, chopped
10 chile de arbol, toasted
1 cup water
salt to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Juice of 1/2 a lime juice or 1 tablespoon white vinegar, optional
1 teaspoon crushed chile piquin or toasted chile de arbol
1. To the blender, add the chopped tomato, 1 cup water, toasted chile de arbol (stems removed) and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. You want the chiles to really break down as small as possible.
2. Strain salsa using a fine wire mesh strainer into a sauce pan. Transfer salsa/hot sauce to a sauce pan. Bring up to a simmer. Whisk the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Mix this into the simmering salsa. Reduce heat and cook for a few more minutes. If using any lime or vinegar, add it while salsa is cooking. Taste for salt. Add crushed chile piquin or more toasted chile de arbol.
Tips~Simply place the dried chile de arbol in a dry skillet at medium heat. Toast for a few minutes, turning as needed. Do not let them get too dark or they can become bitter tasting.
Tips~I typically only purchase Roma tomatoes for my everyday cooking, but the store was out! Lol! So, I picked up some vine ripe tomatoes. Delicious!
This is the salsa/hot sauce soon after I blended it and strained it into the bowl.
Here is the salsa/hot sauce as it cooks. The color deepens. The cornstarch slurry thickens it slightly and also keeps it from separating. I really enjoyed the tangy tomato flavor. It reminded me of these spicy ketchup potato chips I used to purchase in Mexico, tasty!
Even more recipes using dried chile peppers….
The green and red chile oil recipes that follow were inspired by ingredients that I had been sitting on for a while and decided it was time to use them up. A great way to preserve dried or fresh chiles is by cooking them. But only with the added vinegar will they be able to have a longer and more stable shelf life. Don’t be afraid to mix in a few fresh chile peppers, if the dried version is not available.
Salsas Machas! Green and Red Chile Oil and Adobo
The dried jalapeño are more available these days, but if you cannot find them, use fresh. Both fresh jalapeño and serrano would work well for this recipe. The heat levels may vary when using fresh.
I keep the dried chile flakes stored in the refrigerator. Once cooked in the oil after a few days the flavors intesify.
*I had this package of chile quebrado or crushed chile that I wanted to use up, but normally I would use whole dried chiles in my recipes.
1 cup of oil, plus 1/2 cup separate (I used half olive oil and half grapeseed oil)
1 1/2 cups crushed dried chiles (jalapeño, chile de arbol, chile japones or crushed red pepper flakes)
10 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3/4 cup cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
1. Steep dried chiles, garlic and spices in 1 cup of oil on low for 20 minutes. Do not let it boil. Add vinegar and salt and steep for 5 more minutes.
2. Transfer to blender, add remaining oil and pulse to blend until desired finish. I pulsed mine 5 to 6 times, but you could blend on high for a more imulsified finish. That’s up to you. Taste for salt. Let cool at room temperature.
3. Once cooled, store in airtight container in the refrigerator or you can freeze. Yields about 3 cups. For better flavor, I would suggest letting the chile oil/adobo sit for a couple of days before using. The colors of the oil will darken and become less cloudy with time. It can be used as is for a spicy salsa, for marinating, spicy vinaigrette or any of your favorite recipes that you want to add a little or alot of heat to.
Variations or Add Ins:
Fresh chile serrano or red fresno
*I will be posting some New Recipes in the next couple of weeks showing you my favorite ways to incorporate the chile oil/adobo into your recipes.
Just for the heck of it, I threw in a couple of the red chile de arbol.
I did not quite have 1 1/2 cups of the crushed chile, so I added some chile de arbol to make the full 1 1/2 cups.