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Chipotle Chile Salsa (Salsa de Chile Chipotle y Jitomate)

The smoke-dried jalapeño, known as the chipotle chile, adds a distinctive wood-fire flavor to this simple tomato table salsa from Puebla. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled 
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, about 3/4 lb. total 
  • 3 dried chipotle chiles or canned chipotle chiles in adobo 
  • Sea salt, to taste 

Directions:

Heat a fry pan over medium heat. Place the garlic cloves in the pan and roast, turning them frequently, until they soften and their skins blacken, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then peel off the charred skin. Set the garlic aside.

Line a heavy fry pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil and heat over medium heat. Place the tomatoes in the pan and roast, turning them occasionally, until the skin is blistered and begins to blacken and the interior softens. Let cool, then carefully trim off only the most blackened parts of the skin. Set the tomatoes aside.

If using dried chiles, place them in a saucepan, add water to cover and salt the water. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the chiles are softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid, and place the chiles in a blender or food processor along with about 1/4 cup of the liquid. If using canned chiles, scrape off some of the adobo sauce and put the chiles in a blender or food processor.

Add the garlic to the blender along with the tomatoes and process very briefly. The mixture should be thick and slightly chunky.

Pour the salsa into a bowl and season with salt. Cover the bowl and let the flavors meld for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Makes about 1 cup.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Mexico, by Marilyn Tausend (Time-Life Books, 2000).