TRIO OF HABANERO SALSA

TRIO OF HABANERO SALSA

It’s official: I can handle heat. I’m pretty sure my decoder ring shaped like a chile pepper is in the mail to mark this momentous occasion, but until then I’ll celebrating my newly discovered love of habanero by whipping up a bunch of salsa.

Here’s the thing about heat: it’s not a flavor, it’s a sensation.  Typically I dislike super spicy peppers because they get in the way of the flavor, but habaneros with the seeds removed add a nice, gentle buzz in the back of your throat plus a gorgeous floral yet vegetal flavor.  My favorite of the group is the Papaya Habanero Salsa, mostly because if you mix it with white tequila is makes a delicious cocktail – to versatile!

Note: Habaneros are HOT! To protect yourself, wear rubber gloves and work on a cutting board. Don’t touch your eyes and face unless you want to run around the kitchen wincing in pain.

Other Note: You should taste everything as you cook, so make sure to taste your salsa with a tortilla chip.  You want to make sure you have the right balance of seasoning, so trying it with a tortilla chip will give you a more accurate idea.

TRIO OF HABANERO SALSA

TRIO OF HABANERO SALSA

INGREDIENTS (PAPAYA HABANERO SALSA)

2 habaneros, deseeded and tops removed

1 large papaya, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons agave nectar

2 limes, juiced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

up to 1/4 cup water

DIRECTIONS

Combine everything in food processor and puree until smooth.  Taste, and add more habanero for heat or more lime for acid.  It should be quite thin, so if it has the texture of a smoothie, drizzle in a little water until the salsa loosens up. Keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

TRIO OF HABANERO SALSA

INGREDIENTS (FRIED HABANERO SALSA)

2 habaneros, deseeded and tops removed

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup tomato, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the oil, and once the oil has heated up, add the habaneros.  Fry for about 15 seconds a side, turning with tongs, until golden brown. Set aside and remove the habaneros to a mortar and pestle, reserving the oil.  Add the tomato, salt, and pepper to the mortar and pestle and grind together until a loose paste forms.  Add a few teaspoons of the fry oil and the lemon juice, and mash together again.  Taste and adjust seasoning. Keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

TRIO OF HABANERO SALSA

INGREDIENTS (GREEN HABANERO SALSA)

2 habaneros, deseeded and tops removed

1 garlic clove, peeled

1/2 white onion, top and bottom removed and peeled

2/3 cup cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped

2 limes, juiced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

up to 1/2 cup blanche water

DIRECTIONS

In a pot of boiling water, blanche the habaneros, garlic, and onion for 3 minutes. Add the cilantro and boil for another minute.  Scoop the ingredients out and into an ice bath to stop the cooking, reserving the blanche water.  Roughly chop up the onion and place all of the ingredients, except the water, in a food processor.  Puree until smooth and drizzle in water until quite thin and liquid.  Taste with a chip and adjust. Keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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