Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa

Our pepper plants are on a roll! They’ve yielded over a dozen peppers so far and there are new peppers growing and ripening in the garden right now. After harvesting 2 “big boy” green jalapeños, 5 small red jalapeños and 4 small serranos all in one afternoon I realized that we needed to find a good recipe to take advantage of all of this spicy goodness. We turned to the pages of our trusty Mexican Everyday cookbook and found this recipe for Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa.

Our mid-July bounty: green beans, tomatoes, jalapeños and serranos!

Salsa de Chile Fresco Asado (from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless)

You will need…
4-5 fresh Jalapeños (the recipe calls for green chiles but ours were red)
4 fresh Serranos (omit if you want a milder salsa)
4 cloves Garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons Lime Juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Directions:
Trim the stems off of the chiles and slice in half lengthwise, then place face down in a glass baking pan. Arrange the garlic cloves between the peppers. Broil in the oven for 4-5 minutes or until the chile peppers are soft and starting to form blotchy black spots. Remove from broiler and carefully transfer the roasted chiles and garlic to a blender. Add the lime juice and water and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl and, if necessary, stir in more water to reach your desired consistency. Taste the salsa (watch out though, it might be super hot!) and add salt if needed.

OK… so now you have a bowl of freshly roasted liquid fire. What the heck are you supposed to do with it?

Our chile peppers must have been extra potent because our “salsa” was so hot that we could barely inhale near it. (I say “salsa” in quotes because I could never, ever handle a serving of this stuff on a chip… I’d die!) Luckily there are plenty of things that you can do with hot salsa that don’t involve burning your mouth and sweating profusely. Here are some ideas:

  • Use it anywhere that you’d normally add hot sauce. We used a few drops on our Jalapeño Garlic Chicken Quesadillas and it brought a great amount of heat to the dish. It would also be good (in moderation!) on Tortas with Chorizo and Black Beans and Chicken Fajitas.
  • Use it as a steak marinade. (This is Rick Bayless’s suggestion.) Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the salsa and brush it onto all sides of a nice steak (we shared a NY strip, yum!). Sear both sides of the steak over high heat and then grill over indirect medium heat until cooked to your desired temperature.
  • Use it to season potatoes. (Also Rick’s idea.) Quarter two yukon gold potatoes, sprinkle with salt, and microwave on high in a covered bowl for 4 minutes to soften. Brush some of the salsa onto the potatoes and finish cooking them on a grill in a grill basket over direct medium-high heat.

What is your favorite way to use a surplus of chile peppers? Please share!

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