Recipe

Habanero Salsa

by Tim Chin

We wanted something fresh tasting but complex to go with our Cochinita Pibil. Traditionally, a salsa made with habanero chiles is the go-to choice. The trick for me was managing the heat of these supremely spicy chiles to create a balanced salsa. Charring everything over rip-roaring heat gave the salsa some awesome, smoky notes. But my initial attempts were face-meltingly spicy. By removing the seeds and membranes of the chiles, I toned down the spiciness just enough—well, enough that my team didn’t cry at every tasting.

Yield
Makes about 1¼ cups (285 grams)
SFS_Habanero_Salsa-0311.jpg
Ingredients
65 g habanero chiles
76 g garlic cloves, unpeeled (1 head)
185 g cherry tomatoes
50 g lime juice (2 limes)
8 g cilantro leaves
6 g salt
6  habanero chiles
1  garlic head, cloves separated, unpeeled
6½ ounces (about 30) cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons lime juice (2 limes)
¾ cup cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon salt
Essential Equipment
Instructions
    • 65 g habanero chiles 
    • 76 g garlic cloves, unpeeled (1 head) 
    • 185 g cherry tomatoes
    Line 12-inch stainless steel-skillet with aluminum foil. Place skillet over high heat, add habaneros and garlic, and cook until beginning to char, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and continue to cook, turning all vegetables occasionally, until charred, about 6 minutes longer. Transfer mixture to bowl and let cool slightly. Peel garlic cloves. Wearing gloves, use paring knife to stem, halve, and seed habaneros; discard seeds and ribs.
    • 50 g lime juice (2 limes) 
    • 8 g cilantro leaves 
    • 6 g salt
    Transfer habaneros, garlic, and tomatoes to blender and add lime juice, cilantro, and salt. Process on low speed until coarsely chopped, 15 to 20 seconds. Serve. (Salsa may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week).
Instructions
    • 6 habanero chiles 
    • 1 garlic head, cloves separated, unpeeled 
    • 6½ ounces (about 30) cherry tomatoes
    Line 12-inch stainless steel-skillet with aluminum foil. Place skillet over high heat, add habaneros and garlic, and cook until beginning to char, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and continue to cook, turning all vegetables occasionally, until charred, about 6 minutes longer. Transfer mixture to bowl and let cool slightly. Peel garlic cloves. Wearing gloves, use paring knife to stem, halve, and seed habaneros; discard seeds and ribs.
    • 3 tablespoons lime juice (2 limes) 
    • ¾ cup cilantro leaves 
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    Transfer habaneros, garlic, and tomatoes to blender and add lime juice, cilantro, and salt. Process on low speed until coarsely chopped, 15 to 20 seconds. Serve. (Salsa may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week).
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