October 18, 2009
Man cannot live on technology and politics alone. Occasonally, you gotta eat. You might as well eat well. Real men do cook, but they don’t cook like wussies. Thus begins my series of posts on my favorite recipes. Most of these I made up myself, or bastardized from the work of others, with my own special twists.
First up: SALSA!!!! Specifically, my own 4 pepper, fire roasted, burn your face off, devil’s fire salsa. This stuff is HOT but it has a great flavor to match the heat. It is addictive too. If you are a chili-head, you must try this. The key to this salsa is the BBQ. I fire roast everything. This gives it a great smoky flavor, caramelizes some of the sugars in the peppers to add sweetness, and really intensifies the flavors of all the ingredients.
- 5 – Green jalepeno peppers
- 5 – Red jalepeno peppers
- 5 – Serano peppers
- 5 – Habanero peppers
- 6 – Large Roma tomatoes
- 2 – Bunches of green onions
- 2 – Limes
- 1 – Garlic clove
- 1 – Bunch cilantro
- Salt and coarse black pepper to taste
Put all the peppers on the grill whole. You may need a basket to keep the smaller peppers from falling through the grates. Cut 5 of the tomatoes in half. Put them on the grill skin side down to start.Â Trim theÂ topsÂ offÂ 1 of the green onion bunches and put on the grill.
Grill everything until it gets a nice char. The green onions will finish first. You want good grill marks and the white heads should get a little translucent. The peppers should start exploding, and some of them will turn black. This is a good thing! Get them well charred but not burnt. The tomatoes should be flipped cut side down when the skin starts pulling away from the flesh.
After the peppers are cooked, you need to remove the stem caps. I highly recommend you use tongs and a sharp knife. Avoid handling the peppers (especially the habaneros) with your bare hands. It’s hard to get the oils off, and if you rub your eyes, you are in big trouble. Put the whole peppers into a blender, with the tomatoes. Coarse chop the cooked green onions and add them too, along with half the chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, garlic, and the juice of at least one lime. Blend until smooth.
Taste! This is the hardest part of the process. I adjust the salt, pepper, and lime by taste. This mixture is HOT!!! both in temperature (just off the grill) and pepper. I try to hold it in my mouth for about 30 seconds to pick out the flavors. Adjust your seasonings and blend a little more. Then, dump the whole mixture in a bowl. Chop your remaining tomato, green onion, and cilantro, and add to the mix. This gives the salsa a nice chunky texture, and moderates the heat a little. This salsa will be very thick, because we cooked most of the moisture out of the tomatoes. Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge and you are good to go.
You can adjust this basic recipe for different heat preferences with ease. If you skip the habaneros, you get a nice medium heat salsa with a very similar flavor profile. Cut the peppers in half and you get a pleasant mild salsa. Skip the fresh ingredients added at the end and add 1 more of each pepper, and you get a fiery mixture that is awesome on carnitas. You can also adjust the size of the recipe up or down. Just keep the ratios of 1 of each type of pepper, to 1 tomato.
If you try this recipe, please leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks!