This is my own loose interpretation of one of Mexico’s most famous dishes, Chiles en Nogado, transformed into a smoky picante salsa. Wonderful served as an apertivo spread on stone ground tostada rounds or crusty toasted sourdough levain.
Chiles en nogado originates from the Mexican state of Puebla, incorporating the red (pomegranate seeds), white(walnut sauce), and green (poblano chiles) of the Mexican flag that is traditionally served on Mexican independence day.
For the recipe I have substituted toasted pumpkin seeds for walnuts, sweet red peppers for the poblano chilies, and included a chipotle chile to add an intense smoky flavor to the salsa.
A splendid colorful apertivo to serve with cocktails, for a festive Mexican meal , or with grilled meats and poultry.
Chile Salsa Nogado: makes 3 cups
- 1 kilo/2.2 pounds fresh sweet red peppers, fire roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 3 long hot red chiles, fire roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 dried chipotle chile, reconstituted in boiling water, seeded and chopped
- 1 Â½ cups toasted pumpkin seeds (or walnuts)
- Â½ cup crumbled water crackers or bread crumbs soaked in water, squeezed to remove excess liquid
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons bottled pomegranate syrup, or pomegranate juice reduced to a syrup
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- Â½ teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Â¾ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- pomegranate seeds (optional garnish)
Flame roast the sweet red bell peppers, and long hot red chilies (see here). Peel, seed, and chop them and place in the work bowl of a food processor.
Reconstitute the chipotle chile in boiling water. Seed, and chop and add to the food processor.
Add the toasted pumpkin seeds (or walnuts), soaked crackers (or bread crumbs), lime juice, pomegranate syrup, sherry vinegar, toasted cumin seeds to the processor and pulse until the ingredients are coarsely ground.
With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow steady stream until well incorporated.
Stop the machine and taste. Add salt as needed and pulse several times.
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with pomegranate seeds (if using) and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for later use, adding the pomagranate seeds just before serving
Serve with stone ground tostada rounds or tostada chips and/or thick toasted sourdough levain.
To make your own toastada rounds, cut rounds out from stone ground corn tortillas, fry in oil until crisp, and set aside to drain on paper towels. When completely cool, store in an airtight container.