Having salsa on hand is mandatory around these parts, and when we tried this smoky salsa negra from Marcie Turney, we were hooked. Toasted chiles and peanuts are blended with garlic and ginger for a rich and smooth salsa perfect for dipping and so much more. Add a spoonful to your Bloody Mary mix for a real kick or mix it with mayo and take your sandwiches to the next level.
Your nose is your most important tool in making this salsa. The chiles are dark to begin with, so instead of looking for any browning, take notice of when the chiles are fragrant and pull them from the oil. This way, you’ll catch your chiles before they burn, and you’ll be left with perfect salsa every time.
To learn more, read “Marcie Turney’s Secret Weapon.”
Smoky Salsa Negra
Recipe adapted from Marcie Turney, Lolita, Philadelphia, PA
Yield: 1¾ cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
1 cup water
3 tablespoons grated piloncillo (Mexican unrefined sugar) or brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
20 dried morita chiles, stemmed and seeded
¼ cup raw skinless peanuts
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 tablespoons minced ginger
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1. In a small saucepan, bring the water and piloncillo to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Keep warm.
2. In a medium sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the chiles and stir to toast until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chiles to the sugar water.
3. To the pan of oil, add the peanuts and toast until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peanuts to the sugar water with the chiles.
4.Add the garlic cloves to the pan next and cook, turning as needed, until charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Peel the garlic skin off and add the cloves to the sugar water with the minced ginger, vinegar and salt.
5. Transfer the whole mixture to a blender and purée until smooth. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.