Casual summer meals…al fresco!
Here is a multipurpose Mexican Picante Salsa Frito that has a multitude of applications. Use it for fajitas (see pervious post), tacos, grilled meats, seafood, or simply as it is as a salsa with tostada chips served with cocktails.
Easy to prepare and keep on hand in the fridge, or freezer, for those last minute meals that need a little spike of spicy heat to bring them to life.
Picante Salsa Frito:
- 6 to 8 dried chilies (ancho, guajillo, New Mexico, chipotle…a combination of, or whatever is available)
- ¼ cup cold pressed peanut oil (or olive oil)
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 plump medium vine ripe tomatoes, skin removed, cored, seeded, and chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon sea salt +more to taste
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Put the kettle on the stove and boil up some water.
Put a large skillet on the stove over medium heat and add the whole dried chilies, flattening them out using a metal spatula pressed against the bottom of the pan. Toast the chilies for several minutes, turning them several times, until they are pliable, the aroma of the chilies is released, and their flavor has intensified.
Remove the chilies from the skillet and set aside until they are cool enough to handle.
Once cooled, remove the stems and split the chilies lengthwise, shake out what seeds you can, and transfer the chilies to a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Set aside for 30 minutes to soften.
Remove the chilies from the water, chop them up, and set aside. Reserve the soaking water to add to the salsa later.
Place the same skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is nearly smoking, add the onions, garlic, and chopped chilies and fry until the onions are soft, translucent, and lightly colored. Add the chopped tomatoes, marjoram, cumin seeds, honey, and 1 teaspoon of salt and fry while continuously stirring for a couple of minutes until the mixture is quite thick. Add some of the chile soaking water (about 1 cup) and lower the heat until the salsa is just simmering. Continue cooking until the liquid has nearly evaporated and the salsa is quite thick; 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the salsa to a blender and add the cider vinegar. Allow to cool a couple of minutes before you begin to puree the salsa. Pulse the mixture several times and then blend on medium speed until the salsa is nearly smooth.
Taste the salsa and add addition salt to taste.
Transfer the salsa to several jars and set the jars on a cooling rack until they are room temperature. Seal the jars and refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for longer storage.