ANCHO CHILE SALSA aka THE BEST SALSA EVER

2.04.2016

Sometimes I wonder what prehistoric people thought of food without seasoning. They obviously craved food for sustenance, but I really can't imagine it being the least bit enjoyable. I'm so thankful to be a modern woman - ha.

On an everyday basis, most people reach for the same seasonings over and over. When you get a wild hair and want to cook Indian, Thai or African you go out of your way (or dig through the spices you haven't used forever) and reap the rewards of dishes that are intensely flavored. On an average weekday though, it's hard to get past fatigue and cook outside your usual flavor profile. 

When I want to add something really special to a dish, I lean on my favorite sauces rather than an exhaustive list of spices. Or I just throw some kimchi on top. My fav sauces are super quick to make and they last a few days to a week, so I can throw crazy flavor on top of anything (or everything) in seconds.



One my favorite things on the planet is this recent discovery. Seriously, this salsa will BLOW YOUR MIND. G made it for the first time a couple months ago and I lost it. It was mind and body-altering because it's so unlike a conventional salsa and it makes everything, I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, taste good. So far I've had it with tacos, meat, dumplings, eggs, rice, sandwiches, pasta, chips of course, and soups from all different cuisines and it immediately transforms what I'm eating.

I mentioned my other two "mother sauces" here and beyond your basics like soy and hot sauce, these sauces are really the only things I need to make food taste delicious. And two bonuses: 1) it's super cheap to make (score for Frugal February) and 2) hiiiii, perfect Super Bowl food! 'Round here, we're having friends over and I'm making empanadas with a side of this here salsa. Heaven.


ANCHO CHILE SALSA 
~yields roughly a cup and a half

This recipe is adapted from Rancho Gordo's Scissor Salsa, which got it's name from the way you chop the chiles. Since dried chiles are used here and they aren't soaked ahead of time, it's the only practical way to chop them. 

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
8 whole, dried Ancho chiles
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano (RG's Indio oregano is THE BEST!)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sherry vinegar

In a small pot or pan, heat the oil and garlic over low heat for 3-4 minutes just to take the edge off the garlic. Be careful not to brown the garlic.
Meanwhile, over low heat in a cast iron skillet, toast the chiles being careful not to burn them. This is mostly to soften the chiles, rather than toast them.
Remove from the pan and with a pair of scissors, remove the stem, seeds and large veins from the peppers.
In a medium bowl, cut the peppers into small bite-size pieces.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it marinate for at least two hours. Place in the fridge if you are not planning to eat it right away.
This salsa will keep for at least a week in the fridge, if it lasts that long! 

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