salsa de arbol (two ways)

by sj

Ever feel like making one salsa isn’t enough? Do you happen to love things hot hot hot, while others only seem to like it “hot”? Do you want a spicy salsa AND a hot sauce to go along with it? Well, here you go. Two salsas at once, a hotter version and then a milder (but still hot) version, both totally delicious and crave worthy, easy peasy. It all begins with the hotter one, which you will then use part of to make the milder version, totally genius i think, similar but incredibly different.

salsa de arbol (two ways)

Ever feel like making one salsa isn’t enough? Do you happen to love things hot hot hot, while others only seem to like… condiments + accompaniments + dips salsa de arbol (two ways) European make it paper
yield: just under 4 cups for both Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
rating 5.0/5
( 3 voted )


Version one (HOT):

100g | about 4 medium tomatillos (around 1 cup after cut) paper skin removed and cut into eighths

150g | about 4 large roma tomatoes, rough chopped

8g | 3 cloves garlic, halved

80g | 1/2 cup white onion, rough chopped

5.5g | ¾ tsp salt

2-8g | 5-15 arbol chiles, cleaned

235g/ml | 1 cups boiling water

2g | ½ tsp cumin

1g | heaping ¼ tsp green mex seasoning

15g/ml | 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

5g | 1 Tbsp firmly packed finely chopped cilantro 


 Version two (less hot):

125g | ½ cup version one from above

125g | ½ cup chopped onion

1 small (14.5oz) can fire roasted tomatoes

5g | 1 Tbsp firmly packed finely chopped cilantro

15g/ml | 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

2.5g | ¾ tsp red mex seasoning


Version one (HOT):

Preheat oven to 450F

Toast chiles in a dry pan (moving around constantly) over medium heat until darkened, blistered and just starting to get dark spots

Place in a dish or heat-safe blender and pour boiling water over

Place cumin in pan, turn off heat, and toast cumin until darkened and nutty/earthy scented, add to water with chiles along with the green mex seasoning and salt

Toss your tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, and onion with JUST enough oil to coat them, place on a lined baking sheet and roast at 450F for 20 minutes, turning the pan midway through

After roasting, turn on the broiler and broil until edges are blackened (this happens pretty quick)

Blend chiles, seasoning, water, and cumin until totally smooth

Add in vegges and continue to blend until smooth, then pulse in the lime juice and cilantro until finely chopped


Version two (less hot):

Blend everything until desired texture


This works best with a fine texture, it’s also quite delicious slightly cooked (which will give you a richer flavor) simply heat a pan over medium heat, toss in salsa, reduce heat to simmer, cook 5 minutes and done! You can add a little water at the end or enjoy it super thick.

So we start with the hotter of the two, fresh roma tomato, onion, tomatillo, and garlic all form the base, roasted until they have some nice blackened bits (this really ups the flavor.) Arbol chiles bring the heat and a huge impact of flavour, their nutty, rich, bright flavor really comes shining through after a brief roasting and soak (to soften them up) in hot water. Some green mex seasoning brings in a bunch of herbal and savory notes, extra (toasted) cumin for earthiness, then some lime and cilantro to bring back in some fresh top notes. Now, i like things SPICY, so i used the max (15) chiles for mine, however, this is too hot for some people [insert eyeroll here], okay well, pretty much everyone else LOL (i jokingly call it “the widowmaker”) but for me it’s just divine. I suggest, even if you *think* you like it spicy, start off with 5, you can always add more the next time.

I suggest toasting the chiles in a small pan over medium heat, just until they’re darkened, blistered and start to get some dark spots, toss them into your hot water and toast your cumin in the same pan (no need to grind it up first, the blender will take care of em) then throw the cumin and green mex into your water to infuse with the chiles while you roast your vegges up. (good idea to keep a lid on everything to keep the flavours inside where they belong)

Roasting the vegges helps bring out more earthy and sweet notes and soften them up, making them blend smoother and giving you a lot more flavour. I know it might seem like an extra step that’s just a hassle, but trust me, it changes everything. You really wanna let them go the whole time and then pop on the broiler until you see some nice blackened bits (you can even broil them longer if you’d like a deeper roasted taste, that’s totally okay too and i do it myself a lot), then they get tossed in the blender with your chile blend and blended into oblivion! After it’s nice and smooth, toss in the lime and cilantro, pulse it around to whatever size you’d like your leafies and it’s done. This is definitely a salsa you can serve warm, it’s mighty tasty that way, or let it cool and toss it in the fridge. It will keep about a week, and you can freeze it up to 3 months (since this recipe is a smooth salsa, you don’t have to worry about the texture getting all weird from freezing)

Now, for part TWO, the much less hot version, probably more suited to chips and such suchness, you simply take part of your hot hot salsa, blend it with some fresh onion (not sweet), fire roasted canned tomatoes, a little more lime juice, some red mex seasoning, and some cilantro. Boom, done! Super crazy easy, two salsas in no time. The hotter one is a very clean sharp heat, with a wonderful nuttiness and just a mild acid bite, a light body and very smooth. The milder one is richer, sweeter, and more robust with a nice even heat, a thicker and heavier body, and a nice freshness about it. Best of both worlds for you. Now, the second one does not freeze well, it will keep for 5-7 days in the fridge before the flavors start to muddy and the texture breaks down, so just freeze up some extra from recipe one and make another batch later.

...and now for something similar:

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