Delicious & Easy
One of my “secret” salsas from SOL Cocina, this salsa is so hot that we don’t dare put it on the table for fear a child will stick a chip in it. Instead, we wait until guests ask for “something hotter” and then we fix them up with this fiery bright-orange salsa, which is plenty hot enough for all but the most masochistic. Tellingly, it is a favorite of the kitchen crew. Habanero chiles bring an intense lingering heat to everything they touch—be sure to wear gloves when handling them. The small amounts of agave nectar, vinegar and salt in this recipe enhance the fruity nature of the chile. Habaneros will set your lips on fire, and too much will ruin your palate, so use it in small drops. The salsa will keep, refrigerated, for a week to 10 days. Be sure to stir before use and re-season if necessary.
In a 1-quart saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until just softened. Add the water, salt, tomato and habaneros and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the chiles are soft. Transfer to a blender, add the vinegar and agave nectar and blend until fairly smooth, with a little texture.
Variation: If this salsa is too hot, reduce the number of habaneros by half next time.
Serving Ideas: This salsa has a natural affinity with all kinds of seafood, as well as anything made with lots of fresh lime, so shrimp cocktail, ceviche and fish soups are natural pairings. It’s unusual and delicious with fruit, especially orange or watermelon. The heat and salt work wonders with starchy, fried or salty foods, such as jicama, onion rings or fried potatoes.