Thursday, February 19, 2015

Roasted Pepper Salsa

Chipotle is a huge trend now. Not only is there a restaurant chain with that name, but there are all sorts of salsas and sauces with "chipotle" somewhere in the name.

Chipotle is basically a smoke dried jalapeño pepper. Without the smoke dry process, it doesn't realy count as "Chipotle."

However, we can get close to that flavor with a simple oven roasting. Part of the flavour nuance will be missing, but surprisingly, a smokey-ish flavour comes from using even an electric oven and a cookie sheet.

I roasted several other ingredients, too. I roasted about 20 large jalapeños, 1 whole red onion quartered, 5 garlic cloves, and a package of cherry tomatoes. I set the oven at 350° and roasted them all together on the same cookie sheet for 45 minutes.

After they cooled enough, I put them in my food processing blender with a 16 oz can of tomatoes and the juice of one lime. I also added powdered cumin (to taste) and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

All mixed up, this is what it looks like:


The taste is absolutely wonderful. I haven't been a huge fan of chipotle being in everything, but the slightly less intense flavour of oven roasting is quite tasty. Next time, I will only roast about half the peppers I'm going to use, but still roast some onion, garlic, and tomato with them. That way, I will get some of that fresh pepper taste I enjoy so much.

Experiment with other peppers, too, if you like. Jalapeños are the go to pepper for any kind of roasting, grilling, or smoking, but many peppers can be roasted. Sweet, hot, oriental style, mild, whatever. 

The roasting changes the pepper flavour in a very special way. Nothing else really comes close. Adding liquid smoke or other product like that does not work, imho. Dehydration machines don't quite cut it, either. We need the natural process of the heat making the subtle molecular changes which enhance the taste of whatever veggie we roast.

TRy it yourself, you will probably easily find a combination that works for you.

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