Why You Should Use A Blend Of Peppers In Fresh Salsa

Chips and salsa is a popular appetizer at many restaurants, be it a regular American chain or a place rooted in global cuisine. And that's because it whets your appetite for the entrees to come, and more importantly, it provides a ton of flavors that keeps you coming back for more. While there may be a lot of tasty chips in a basket, the real star player is the salsa. Fiery, bold, and assertive, fire-roasted salsa is one of those condiments that adds balance to many types of dishes. And that's because the mixture itself is well-balanced (or at least, it should be).

As Epicurious explains, the "building blocks" of salsa include spiciness, bulkiness, acidity, and freshness. These may come from ingredients like chipotle chiles, tomatoes, lime juice, and cilantro, respectively, though salsa recipes certainly vary. WebstaurantStore notes that such types include pico de gallo, salsa taquera, salsa roja, salsa verde, and salsa de aguacate, among others. Some of these are blended together, while others showcase the chunkiness of the chopped fruits, vegetables, and herbs. All of this aside though, there's one thing that salsas have in common, and you might have guessed it already.

Peppers. Vibrantly colored and packed with a whole lot of heat, peppers are one of the most important ingredients in proper salsa construction. But whether you're going for sweet, ultra-spicy, or something in between, it's crucial to use a blend of peppers. Here's why.

Different peppers provide different flavor profiles

There's nothing wrong with using one type of pepper to make salsa. In fact, it's fairly common in many recipes. For instance, salsa criolla utilizes aji amarillo peppers, while serrano peppers may be found within pico de gallo, per WebstaurantStore.

But what happens when you combine different peppers together? Well, as Epicurious explains, you'll get lots of varying personalities within each salsa bite. They also reference a homemade salsa roja recipe, which incorporates three types of dried peppers, along with fresh serrano peppers. These are anchos (smoky), pasillas (fruity), and guajillos (really sweet). So when these peppers are combined together, you'll taste the above flavors in your salsa.

Spices Inc. offers a list of flavor characteristics that can be found within various chile peppers. Some of the more common characteristics include sweet, smoky, fruity, and earthy. But these also branch into way more specific tasting notes. For instance, chocolate flavors can be found in ancho peppers, while scotch bonnets have notes of apples, tomatoes, and cherries. Other interesting characteristics include pine, soapy, hay, grassy, and tobacco flavors.

So in short, if you want a more well-rounded flavor profile within your salsa, try combining different peppers together! Not only will it be fun to play this mix-and-match pepper game, but you'll also taste so many contrasting flavors that may make your next batch of fresh salsa the star of any tailgate party.