Spice Things Up In The Kitchen
One my favorite things to snack on is chips and salsa. I have a pretty killer recipe that I fall back on 9 times out of 10, but there are times that I like to venture outside of my comfort zone. We have attempted to plant and grow our very own salsa garden at the Jeffries’ residence, and while our jalapenos grow like crazy, the rest of the plants can’t seem to get their act together. Thankfully, there are an abundance of great locally sourced ingredients that can be found at any neighborhood Farmers Market.
According to SOL Mexican Cocina‘s Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, “A great salsa gets in your face with a bold balance of heat and sweetness, crunch and creaminess, salt and tartness. Since you use salsa to bring out the flavors of other foods, the salsa has to carry whatever you serve it on, so don’t be afraid to go a little overboard when you season.”
Chef Schneider also provided the following tips to help you create the best salsa in your own kitchen.
- Use firm, ripe tomatoes. Farmers markets will have the best ones. Shop with your nose: they should smell great.
- Don’t refrigerate tomatoes.
- Always remove the seeds before making your salsa. Place the diced tomatoes in a colander to drain for a few minutes before combining with other ingredients.
- Bring out the sweetness of ripe tomatoes by contrasting with spicy chiles, a good dose of salt and fresh-squeezed limes.
- Add another textural and flavor element: diced red onion is classic but if onion isn’t your thing, try diced cucumbers, or even a bit of pineapple or mango.
Chef Schneider was also kind enough to share her Charred Red Chile Hot Sauce with us. So get in the kitchen and spice things up!
SOL Cocina’s Charred Red Chile Hot Sauce (salsa de chiles de arbol)
1 cup (packed) stemmed chiles de arbol
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ white onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons garlic cloves, peeled
2 roma tomatoes cut into quarters
2 habaneros stems removed
2 cups water (plus more to thin the salsa)
1 to 2 tablespoon sea salt, or to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons white Heinz vinegar, or to taste
Work in a well-ventilated area. Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chiles to the dry pan and cook and stir for several minutes, until the chiles are blackened in spots. Add the oil, onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onions are golden. Add the tomatoes, water, habanero chiles and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let the salsa cool for 30 minutes. Place in a blender along with the vinegar, and puree completely. Add water by the tablespoon to thin the sauce. Taste. While the salsa will be very spicy, salt and vinegar help balance the heat and the salsa should be highly seasoned.
Not interested in making this recipe on your own? You can head into SOL Mexican Cocina and get this along with several other great menu options.
SOL Mexican Cocina is located at 15323 N. Scottsdale Rd in Scottsdale. For reservations or more information, call 480.245.6708.