Saturday, 11 June 2011

Habanero Salsa

My tolerance for chile, and habanero in particular has increased a lot over the past 18 months. This is a good thing. Habaneros, though hot, have a unique fruity taste, quite different from the crisp clear heat of a serrano, it is a much more interesting taste - provided you can stand the heat!

This salsa is fairly hot. It takes a different approach from the tomato or tomatillo based salsas we have seen already in that it is a vinegar based salsa. There are very few ingredients; chiles, water, vinegar, onion, garlic and salt.

I was a little careless in measuring the quantities, in truth it was just an initial exploration and I was surprised it turned out so well. The quantities here should be taken as a guide rather than a blueprint.

To temper the heat slightly I used some serrano along with the habanero, so the final list of ingredients was:

1/2 to 3/4 cup of water
An equal quantity of red wine vinegar
2 chocolate habaneros (though orange or green would be fine)
2 cloves of roasted garlic
2 roughly chopped serranos
A couple of slices of onion
A good helping of salt.

Everything was added to a small saucepan and simmered for 10 minutes or so. You need a roughly equal quantity of water and vinegar. Cider vinegar would be more authentic but red wine vinegar was what I had available, and considering the quantity of chile I'm not sure it would be possible to tell the difference anyway.

The poached ingredients were blended until smooth and the seasoning adjusted. You should end up with about a cup of a loose salsa with the consistency of pouring cream.

I find the sauce to be hot without being totally overpowering, it keeps the nice fruity floral taste of habanero. It's certainly ho enough to get your attention but it doesn't obliterate whatever it's eaten with and it is certainly much less spicy than some of the bottled habanero salsas you can by in the shops here.

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