Since this month's Sweet Heat challenge is Mexican food I couldn't resist making and sharing with you my favourite spicy salsa. And to really mark the occasion and change things up a bit I decided it was finally time to give the good old habanero (Scotch Bonnet) a go to really amp up the heat level! With or without the scotch bonnet this really is a fantastic salsa for those of you that like some heat but if you prefer a less intense heat then use Serrano, Jalapenos or whatever you can gets your hands on to add some spice – and if you don't like spicy food simply miss the chillies out all together and you will still have a delicious, roasted pepper and tomato salsa.
Thanks to a recipe by Thomasina Miers I now roast my tomatoes and garlic in a dry frying pan until they get nice and charred which adds a further dimension to this flavour combination. If you like you could also char them on the barbecue or if you are short of time you can miss that step out but I do recommend giving it a go.
I literally could just sit and eat an entire bowlful of this salsa as it is so refreshing and packed with so much flavour and even better, it's pretty healthy too! Perfect with tortilla chips, or as a spicy salsa to serve with tacos, nachos or even as a side with some grilled chicken or fish, whatever you serve it with this will be a hit!
1 fat clove of garlic, unpeeled
1 Jar of roasted red peppers, drained
1 habanero chilli*, seeds & stem removed or 2-3 chillies of your choice, stalks removed (remove seeds for a milder version)
Zest of 1 lime & juice of ½ – 1, depending on juiciness
Small bunch of fresh coriander
Good pinch of Maldon Salt (or other salt of your choice)
1-2 tbsp Mild Olive oil
Heat a frying pan then add the whole tomatoes and the garlic clove and roast until charred, blistered and starting to soften (the garlic will take less time than the tomatoes, so just remove that early). Remove from the skin from the garlic and pop into the bowl of a food processor.
Add the roasted peppers, tomatoes, chilli(e)s, lime zest and juice and coriander stalks in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until its pureed. Season with salt and pepper then taste and add more lime juice if needed. Add the coriander leaves and the olive oil and pulse so the coriander is just roughly chopped up. Taste again to check the seasoning then transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
*Of course as can always be the way with chillies, my entry into habanero/Scotch Bonnet territory wasn't nearly as daunting as I imagined. Some times they can blow your head off (even a humble little jalapeno can take you by surprise some days!) and other times they just kind of dance around in the background, just enough to let you know they are there without overpowering. This occasion was just that and although I did remove the seeds and stem, I ended up adding 2 Habaneros/ Scotch Bonnets to get the taste I wanted and even then it wasn't nearly as hot as I had imagined.....in fact it turned just perfect...Hot enough to make my nose run a little, but not so hot my mouth was hurting!! ; )