Saturday 7 July 2012

Searingly Hot Salsa

From Mexican Food Made Simple, Thomasina Miers, Hodder & Stoughton, 2010.

Seeing this named as ‘searingly hot’ was tantamount to a challenge. Why is it that we always want to go that one step further? I thoroughly enjoy hot chilli dishes but there is always that odd temptation to make them that little bit hotter. Are we testing ourselves to see if we can stand the extra heat? Whatever, I just had to make this searingly hot salsa to see what it was like.

The recipe for the salsa was for a large quantity and I only needed a small portion. The quantities for the full recipe did not easily translate into smaller amounts so I just decided to go by taste—not the easiest decision since the heat made it somewhat difficult to judge.

I took 5g of chilli de Arbol and simmered them in water sufficient to keep them wet. The simmering only seemed to need about 5 minutes to soften them. Once cool, they then went into the blender with the water and were churned to break them down. A little apple cider vinegar was added together with half a garlic clove. Again it was blended to break it down further. A pinch of dried oregano, a large grinding of black pepper, half a teaspoon of salt and the same amount of caster sugar now were added. Again the mixture was blended. Now it was beginning to become a smooth paste.

It tasted raw and harsh to me and needed something else. I had basically completed the recipe at this stage but felt it was not right. I added olive oil. This did the trick; it smoothed out that harshness and improved the texture.

The salsa was certainly hot and only needed to be used in small portions but it added a real bite when used with caution. It’s not the hottest salsa I’ve tried but comes close.

Oddly, out of all the interesting looking recipes in this book, this is the first I’ve tried. I was attracted by the challenge. Now that I’ve satisfied myself in this regard, I’ll certainly head further in to try more.

Taste: ✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔

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