Recipe of the Month-Salsa Cruda & Red Chili Sauce

FEBRUARY 2011

Salsa Verde Cruda (Roasted Tomatillo- Serrano Salsa)

Yields:  2 ½ cups

1 pound (10-12) medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed

2-3 fresh Serranos

2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 small white onion, minced

¼ cup loosely packed, roughly chopped cilantro

Salt, about 1 generous teaspoon

Sugar, about 1 teaspoon

To Serve:

1.)    Lay the tomatillos a baking sheet and place 4 inches below a very hot broiler.  When the tomatillos blister, blacken and soften on one side, turn them over and roast the other side.  Cool completely on the baking sheet.  Roast the chiles and garlic on an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until blackened in spots and soft, 5-10 minutes for the chiles, about 15 minutes for the garlic.  Cool, them pull the stems from the chiles and peel the garlic.

2.)    Puree.  Scrape the tomatillos and juices into a food processor or food blender, along with the roasted chiles and garlic.  Pulse the machine until everything is reduced to a rather course-textured puree.  Scrape the salsa into a serving bowl, then stir in between ¼ cup and ½ cup of water, to give the sauce an easily spoonable consistency.  Scoop the onion into a strainer, rinse under cold water, shake off the excess and stir into the salsa, along with the cilantro.  Taste and season with salt and a little sugar.

Red Chile Sauce

Yields: 2 cups

4 plum tomatoes

2 ounces dried New Mexico red chiles

1 ounce dried ancho chiles

1 pint water, boiling

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ white onion, chopped

1 can chipotle chiles in Adobo (optional, for more heat)

2 cloves roasted garlic, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon roasted and ground cumin seed

1 teaspoon roasted and ground Mexican oregano

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons peanut oil or lard

To Serve:

Under the broiler, blacken the tomatoes on all sides (5 minutes).  Dry roast chiles (about 2 minutes, they burn easily) and rehydrate under 1 pint of boiling water.  Heat oil in a skillet and sauté the onion over medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes.

Place the blackened tomatoes, rehydrated chiles, optional chipotle, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt in a food processor or blender.  If it is not bitter add one cup of chile water.  Otherwise, add plain water.  Puree to a fine paste.  Add water as necessary.

Heat oil or lard in high-sided sauce pot.  Refry the sauce at a sizzle for 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously.  Add water as necessary.

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