Sunday, January 01, 2006

Chile De Arbol Salsa

I know this is a common salsa but I originally got the idea from Michael Chiarello and a recipe he calls Felicita’s Hot Salsa. I made his version but I found it bitter a bit lifeless. So I began screwing around with it and came up with this. I changed it by lightly pan roasting the garlic, added sugar, lime juice, and cut the stems off the chiles. This salsa carries a lot of heat so be careful. It is great on chicken tacos. I will post my chicken taco marinade in a few days.

See my wine comments below.

Give it a try!

1 oz. dried chiles de arbol, stems cut off
1 cup of water…just enough to fit the chiles
1 to 2 cloves of garlic (unpeeled)
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 to 2 table spoons fresh lime juice to taste
1 cup of salted water (using kosher salt makes it easy to control). I liked it about as salty as seawater.

  1. Heat the water.
  2. In a foil lined skillet, toast the unpeeled garlic for about 4 or 5 minutes, turning often. Remove.
  3. Add the chiles to the skillet and toast for about 10 minutes. Watch closely and make sure not to burn. They should be somewhat soft.
  4. Peel and chop the garlic.
  5. Add the garlic, chiles, sugar and Mexican oregano to the boiling water and simmer about 10 minutes.
  6. Pour into a blender. Blend (be very careful with the hot liquid. Be sure to cover and hold the lid with a towel.)
  7. Add lime juice to taste.
  8. Adjust salt if necessary.

Because of the heat of this salsa you will need to choose wisely when it comes to wine. Beer may be your best option. For me, I tried a California syrah but the heat killed it so I ended up with a nice 2004 Vouvray from Domain Pichot. I white wine that is slightly on the sweeter side. Be sure not to get a late harvest Vouvray, which will be too sweet.