Thursday, June 30, 2011

Roasted Corn and Habanero Salsa

I'm on a crazy-hot salsa kick. My business partner, Mason, and I are always complaining that even at restaurants with supposedly really hot food, we can't get really hot food. Our latest pet peeve is Mexican restaurants that don't have a fresh habanero in the whole joint. Really? Granted, most folks aren't eating food that hot, but isn't there someone back in the kitchen roasting and eating them whole and cursing the mayonnaise-palated gringos in the dining room?

So, I may try a few more of these incendiary concoctions. This one would be great on fish tacos or with roasted pork of any variety, especially carnitas with soft corn tortillas. Keep plenty of cervezas at hand to put out the fire!

Roasted Corn and Habanero Salsa
(makes about a cup)
1 ear of corn in the husk
1-4 habaneros, depending on level of idiocy
3 scallions, finely sliced
3 fresh tomatillos
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp high-quality ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp (or to taste) freshly-ground black pepper
Kosher salt to taste

Start the grill. Remove the paper husks from the tomatillos, rinse, and boil in salted water for 4-6 minutes, until opaque and beginning to fall apart. Drain. Rub the habaneros in a little oil for grilling. Remove the silk from the end of the corn, but leave the husks on. Put the peppers and corn on the grill, turning regularly, until the peppers are lightly browned all over, and the corn husks are well-darkened on all sides. Remove from heat to cool for a bit. Carefully husk the corn (it's hot!!). If the kernels are not lightly browned in places, return the denuded corn to the grill, turning frequently and watching carefully, to lightly brown it.

While the grilled items are cooling, put the tomatillos in a medium bowl and break into mush with your hands, discarding any skin that won't break apart easily. Add the scallions, garlic and lime juice. Cut the corn from the cob, break apart the kernels, and add to the bowl. VERY CAREFULLY remove the stems from the habanero peppers and mince them finely with a chef's knife. Do not touch them with your bare hands! Us a spoon or spatula with the knife to get the minced peppers into the bowl. Rinse everything well!

Add the remaining ingredients, mix well, and test for salt. It should have a pleasant sweet-sour-salty-HOT flavor. This salsa will keep for a day or two, and will be best a few hours after making it.

1 comment:

  1. So this is apropos of nothing, more or less, but I recommend a listen to John Hodgman's take on the MOA on This American Life (link below). He starts with his take on extra-hot hot sauce and how his piece on that was "overly gay" for the men's magazine for which he wrote. Good stuff.