Foodie Friday – R. Jehn

De Arbol Salsa or How to Get Even with a Friend Who Gave You Something That Was Too Spicy

This is incredibly tasty, but it will sneek up on you and whack you in the back of your eyeballs !!! I know you think it should be spelled “sneak,” but not in this recipe – see for yourself what happens to your spelling after tasting it ….

To complete the story: one of Carolyn’s colleagues (Naomi, whose recipe for Shan Salad appears in this book on page 284) gave her two cans of a prepared Thai-style curry paste. I used one to cook some little leftovers (some chicken and a little salmon, plus lima beans and chicken stock), and Carolyn found it way spicy, and could not eat it – I thought it was okay, but darned mouth-biter hot !!!

One 1-quart plastic bag, stuffed with (dry) de Arbol chiles (about 5 ounces)
Juice of 2 limes
3 large shallots, husked
5 cloves of Italian garlic, husked
1 cup homemade tomato sauce (no salt, no nothing)
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon fresh minced (or ground) ginger
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves (from our garden)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Bring 1 quart water to a boil while you stem the chiles. I tried to remove seeds, too, but it became dangerous with all the chile dust flying. I think I got about half of the seeds out. Give the chiles a quick cold water rinse to remove the dust and dirt. When the water boils, pour enough over the chiles to cover them. Soak them for a long hour.

In the meanwhile, put all the remaining ingredients into your food processor or blender and go drink a beer while you recover from the chile dust.

The tomato sauce I used , homemade back in April of 2002, was supposed to be tomato paste, but it didn’t want to go there, even though the Roma tomatoes were beautiful. By writing this, I mean the sauce I used consisted of Roma tomatoes, period.

When the chiles are softened, use a slotted spoon to get them into the food processor, cover it, and see if the blade will turn. If it will not, add a little chile soaking water and try again. Mash everything for about 40 to 50 seconds, then pour it into a pot and bring it to a very slow simmer, covered. Watch out, as the salsa is like lava.

Oh, yeh – give it a taste, using a tortilla chip and see what happens to your sinuses, your eyes, and your spelling …

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