FOOD: SALSA 101 – STRAIGHT FROM THE DONKEY’S MOUTH

(Dan spoke with Dean Delray this week about their love for well made burritos.  Now Dan knows his way around a kitchen, especially when it comes to the dark arts of Latin cuisine, and he tells me that the secret to the best burrito starts with the salsa.  Well, here’s our man Dan’s rockandrollrecipe for some kick ass salsa.  Fuck’n Right! – FATS)

I had never tasted “kick Ass, make you want to praise the the lord Jesus” salsa until I moved to the South and worked in kitchens for 10 years!  Like the other cuisines in my life, I threw myself head first into learning Latin American cooking (not Spanish from Spain, completely different cuisine). Fast forward 12 years, and I am a certified SALSA NINJA!

The staples to making any good salsa is as follows: Chilies, garlic, cilantro, onion, tomato (but not always), limes, salt and pepper. THAT’S IT!

chili 3CHILIES: There are many kinds of Chilies for salsa. The most popular, and equally boring are jalapenos.  If want to kick the pants right off that lady friend of yours, you need to get out your “A ” game, and that means going deep bitches! Chile de arbol (small red chili), pasilla ( larger almost black chili), morita (smoke-dried jalapeno, commonly referred to as a chipotle), guajillo (deep red flesh. It has a mild green tea flavor), ancho (dried form of poblano chilies), New Mexico (earthy flavor almost bitter). The one thing all these chilies have in common is they are DRIED chilies.

There is a couple ways to get dried chilies ready for cooking; it all depends on if you want the seeds or not?  Personally, I prefer without, so the first step is to get the seeds out.  The chilies are easily ripped in half, the seeds and stem can be removed and discarded. Secondly, put the chilies in a pot and cover with water (they will float, so just enough water to cover them if you push them down).  Bring the water to a boil, turn it off and let them sit for 30 minutes or so to re-hydrate (this can be done the day before and stored in the fridge). Alright, you’re ready to get spicy!

Basic Salsa:

1/2 white onion

4 garlic cloves

4 Roma Tomatoes ( cut in half)

Cut all items into chunks, drizzle with a little oil, season with salt and pepper, toss them in the oven on broil. Keep an eye on them so you don’t burn them.

6 Guajillo chilies

3 Chili de Arbol

1/2 bunch cilantro

1 lime

When the Onion, Tomato, Garlic are roasted very well toss everything in the blender with the other chilies, cilantro, squeeze the lime, salt and pepper. Pulse the mix until the consistency you desire. That’s it. That’s all! Easy, easy, easy!!