Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fire Roasted Salsa

I've been experimenting with Meso-American flavors again.  Fire, Chile, Onion...  Mediocre ingredients are transformed by the process into something that can be delicious nomnoms.  There is analogy to my Pizza here where modest, almost boring ingredients become really awesome because of the process.
I've whittled the list of ingredients down to where you can make a Pint at a time.  Two slices of a white onion, up to four fresh Jalapenos, up to three dry Cayenne Chile, a 14.5 ounce can of Whole Tomatoes, ground Comino (Cumin), and Sea Salt.  If you want Hot Salsa add all of the ingredients.  If you wand mild Salsa then I have further instructions below.
Here is the Fire Roasting part.  Crank up the gas grill to high, and char the slices of Onion, and Chiles.
While the Chiles are roasting put the Tomatoes, two teaspoons of ground Comino, and two teaspoons of Sea Salt in the food processor.  Use a culinary scissors to chop the Cayenne Chiles into smaller pieces.  To reduce the heat level use one Cayenne Chile instead of three, but there needs to be at least one in there.
In the meantime the Chiles have been getting happy.  I pulled the Onion off already.
When the Chiles come off the fire seal them in a plastic bag for fifteen minutes.
The Tomato mixture in the food processor gets pureed, and these parts will come together.  I'll dice up the grilled Onions, and add them to the puree.  The Chiles will need a little more work...
When the Chiles are roasted they produce steam internally.  The outer skin of the Chile is water proof, and the steam will not go through it, so they puff up and steam from the inside out.  The skin is charred from the fire, and not really appetizing, so we will remove them.  Letting the Chiles steam in the plastic bag loosens the skin, and makes it easier to remove.
OK, here we have removed the Chile skins, and are ready to prepare the Chiles for the Salsa.  This is where you can take the heat out of the Chile.  we have cooked the Chile and it is very pliable right now, and we can filet it easily.  We will remove the Calyx, and then slice the Chile down one side.
Then We'll splay the Chile out so that all its insides are up.  This exposes the seed membranes and seeds,  Now you can use the Knife to remove the seed membranes and seeds easily.  Then dice the remaining Chile flesh, and add it to the Salsa.
There are those who don't like the heat, and you can make very mild Salsas using this method to take the heat out of the Hot Chiles you use to make Salsa.  You can also tune the heat using this method.  For example I am making this batch Hot, so I am leaving the seed membranes and seeds in two of the Jalapenos
 I am adding to this batch.  I got a need for the heat...
Then there are few additional details at then end that are more spontaneous like Cilantro, or some citrus juice.  This time I am adding some chopped Cilantro.  Depending on the occasion there are a number of flavor bias that can be added, like Camerones, dry Cranberries, Garlic, or Bhut Jolokias...
This one has three dry Cayenne Chiles, four Jalapenos, two with seeds, so it is pretty hot.
But with this one you can dial the heat in, and make it your favorite...

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