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Superbowl Salsa Bar

Superbowl Salsa Bar

Superbowl LI (51, if you're not Roman) is this weekend in Houston. Sports fans are looking forward to a hotly contested battle between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots, but––let's be honest––the outcome is a small component of the significance of the the day. The Superbowl is also our national tribute to over-developed commercials and experimental snack foods. There's only one day a year where buffalo chicken dip is appropriate dinner-fare and building a fortress out of snack foods is considered a worthy creative endeavor. Your imagination and caloric threshold are the limit!

To honor this festive element of the game, and the Texas location, we have assembled a bar of six radically different salsas: Arbol, Guacatillo, Quemada, Texas Green, Verde, and Habanero.

 

 

This fiery salsa takes advantage of the plentiful and hot (15,000-30,000 Scoville units) chile de árbol. Its robust flavor and medium-thin texture makes it perfect for chips, tacos, and as a topping on rice.

Chile de Arbol

45 minutes (30 minutes active) - Heat Level: 4/5
  • 5-15 chiles de arbol (depending on desired heat level)
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1lb roma tomatoes. 
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped.
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Once hot, put tomatoes in a baking pan, insert into oven, and cook until charred (10 minutes or so).
  3. Meanwhile, toast the arbols in a dry skillet on medium heat until they begin to regain form (5 minutes). Once toasted, put away for later.
  4. Remove tomatoes from oven and into a large bowl, let cool slightly, slip off skins, and core to remove the hard middle of the fruit.
  5. In a saucepan or deep skillet, set heat to medium, coat the pan with avocado oil, and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Once translucent, add the tomatoes, arbols, and 1 1/2 cups of water. Simmer for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Take off the burner, let cool, blend, serve!

 

If you're not from the Southwest, you may not be familiar with guacatillo. This salsa is a relative of guacamole, but uses the tangy flavor of the tomatillo to turn the chunky, thick texture of guacamole into a slightly thinner, creamier, and more flavorful alternative. If guacamole is Paul McCartney's Superbowl halftime show, guacatillo is Prince's (RIP): less popular, more experimental, but just as––if not more––satisfying.

Guacatillo

5 minutes - Heat Level: 1/5
  • 3-4 medium-sized, medium-ripe avocados (you don't want to use too many or the salsa will become too creamy)
  • 6 tomatillos, husked, and cleaned
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Blend it!

 

Our house salsa here at Siete, Quemada has a rich texture and light kick that makes it perfect for snacking. The charring on the base fruits and vegetables gives it a nice depth that eludes many salsas. 

Quemada

20 minutes (15 minutes active) - Heat Level - 2/5
  • 4 large tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2-4 jalapeños
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 lime, juiced

Directions

  1. Preheat skillet to medium-high heat.
  2. Place the tomatoes (skin side down), onions, jalapeños, garlic on skillet, and dry roast for 10 minutes (or until charred).
  3. Transfer the tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and garlic to a blender or food processor. 
  4. Add salt, cumin, and lime, and blend to desired consistency.
  5. For a richer color, return salsa to skillet, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve salsa warm, room temperature, or chilled.

 

As you can probably guess by the name, Texas Green is one of the states most iconic salsas. It's served in taquerias across the state and is most famous for it's addictive, almost neutral heat. The featured artist here is the jalapeño. In fact, the salsa is literally just jalapeños, garlic, and avocado oil. There are hundreds of different styles, but we prefer the charred version, as it adds just a hint of smoke to the base flavors. 

Texas Green

30 minutes (20 minutes active) - Heat Level: 4/5
  • 10-15 Jalapeños, stemmed
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Pre-heat skillet to medium-high heat.
  2. Place the Jalapeños and garlic on the skillet. Remove the garlic to a cutting board when it has softened. Turn the Jalapeños occasionally until all sides are well charred.
  3. Put jalapeños on the cutting board with the garlic and cover with plastic wrap for 5-10 minutes, making the skins easier to peel off. 
  4. Halve the jalapeños, seed, devein, and peel (you can keep some of the seeds if you'd like it hotter).
  5. Put garlic and jalapeños into blender or food processor. Pulse. Then slowly introduce avocado oil until the texture of the sauce is thick, but not oily. The color should be a pale green-yellow. 

 

It wouldn't be a salsa bar without a standout salsa verde. This is the traditional: a tomatillo and serrano base that is more flavorful than it is death-defying. 

Verde

30 minutes (15 minutes active) - Heat Level: 3/5
  • 8 medium-sized tomatillos, husks and stems removed
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, but with seeds
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Add the tomatillos, serrano chiles, onion, and garlic to a sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the tomatillos have turned pale green.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. Transfer to blender, removing water in excess of 2 cups. Blend (should yield 4-6 cups of salsa). If more water is necessary for thinner texture, add.

 

BEWARE: FIERY. To make this recipe, get into your preferred Habanero hazmat suit. We recommend nitrile food-service grade gloves. You should also wear glasses if your eyes are sensitive to peppers or if you do not want to look like you had an emotional afternoon. To modulate the heat between pleasantly tropical and "wow, that was a mistake", discard or keep the seeds and veins. I'd recommend keeping the seeds and veins in one out of the three peppers. 

Habanero

20 minutes - Heat Level: 5/5
  • 3 habaneros, cut in half 
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 cloves of garlic, halved
  • 1/4 of a yellow onion
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add carrots and cook until they begin to soften (5-10 minutes), then add the habaneros, onion, garlic, and sauté, while stirring occasionally. 
  2. Once the vegetables are all soft, but not browned, take the skillet off the heat, let cool slightly, and transfer the contents of the skillet to a blender or food processor. 
  3. Add lime juice and apple cider vinegar. Pulse. Add water to achieve desired consistency. Salsa should coat a chip, but not be chunky.