Roasted Jalapeño Salsa

I just started typing and my mouth is watering already! This salsa battles for first place with roasted chipotle salsa as one of my favorites. And the kicker is not the spice, but the ease with which it’s made.

Take half a dozen or so cleaned and dried whole jalapeños, put them in a small pan, and turn up the heat. (Do not add oil or water). Roast them well; they should begin turning black. (You’ll hear them popping and crackling). Yes, you can do this on a grill if you have one handy.

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I then put the peppers in my molcajete, allowing them to cool slightly before removing the stems and crushing them with my tejolote. Chances are you don’t have these primeval tools. That’s okay – just remove the stems and toss the peppers in your blender with some water, maybe 1/4 cup. No, it won’t taste as good, but you’ll still think it delicious.

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Now to add the final ingredients: salt and garlic powder, to taste. Add more water, too, if need be. (Garlic powder vs. whole cloves serves well without adding more heat). In fact, the local señora who taught me this salsa and whose cooking would win on Iron Chef, prefers the powder to the whole clove.

I crush until I like the consistency. I have found (the hard way) that if I over crush, the salsa is so hot that even my macho fire-eating guys can barely handle it. So now I know to leave it chunkier.

For those of you preparing it in a blender, consider removing the seeds and stems (the corazón, or heart) before tossing the peppers in if you want more taste and less heat.

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Mmm-mmm. Ready to eat! We add a teaspoonful to soups, stews, on eggs, on sandwiches, or anything else that we choose to. When not too hot, we even eat it with chips or crackers!


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