Salsa Recipe

28 12 2007

For tomorrow night, the salsi have to be just right as they have been increasing in specificity and popularity more than I had imagined. Plus, two shockingly hot salsi for O and M are being thought of.

Pico de Gallo

This is the basis for all further red salsi so I make a good batch of this and let it marinade overnight. This is a Mexican sauce. Finely dice 10 large Roma tomatoes. Finely dice one large white or yellow onion (yellow gives it colour). Sprinkle two tablespoons of sea salt flakes and stir until evenly mixed. Take four garlic cloves and smash up with the flat part of a chef’s knife to remove the skins, then mince with the sharp end and stir in to mix evenly. Now you will begin to smell quite atrocious. Deal with it. Cut two limes and ream the juice into the mixing bowl. Small bubbles will appear – this is “pico flaming”. Take freshly chopped cilantro.  This is a rate limiting step when you shop for fresh cilantro – smell it in the farmers’ market: cilantro smells Mexican and parsley smells Italian, know it well. Wash under running water, rinse and pat dry between tissues. Destem and chop as finely as you can without bleeding too much into the mixture. Stir again and then add a bit of smoked sea salt. Let this refrigerate over night.

Salsa Verde

This is the basis for all further green salsi. This is an Italian sauce. As this requires heat processing, you have to make this the afternoon of the party and let it cool down, settle in. It will degenerate rapidly so it cannot be stored for past three days despite vacuum sealing as it utilizes the aromatic volatile oils for its sharp tangy taste. Remove the husks of 15 tomatilloes and 3 large chillies. The type of chilli you use depends on how much heat you wish to generate. The following are rated in increasing order of heat index (using Scoville heat units): bell pepper (0, no heat but use it for the body of all the salsi; you can use red or orange bell peppers for red salsi); pepperoncini, they look like elongated bell peppers (100),  Anaheim pepper (500),  Poblano pepper (1000),  Rocotillo (1500),  Jalapeno (2500),  Habanero (7000),  Serrano pepper (10 000),  Aji pepper (30 000) and Thai pepper (50 000). There are higher rated peppers which I have never used. However, I have served soup with 0.1 mL of pure capsicum oil (15 000 000) – this is ridiculously expensive and I am bemoaning that I did not buy more of it in Italy. As you boil the chillis you choose in already hot water (use the hot tea dispenser for the right temperature), chop up some parsley (NOT cilantro), capers, garlic and onions. To this mixture ad olive oil and a bit of mustard. I cheat a bit by adding Roma tomatoes to the boiling water for more body and a bit of sweetness to the flavour. Remove the limp peppers with tongs and shock them in a mixing bowl with ice cold water (or, better, ice). Deskin the tomatoes (the pulp will be palm-numbingly hot) and add to the mixture. Don’t bother macerating. Blend in a food processor for desired consistency and let stand at room temperature for at least six (6) hours. Sometimes, I add a bit of slivered almonds or chopped walnuts for a crunchy flavour.