This simple, earthy salsa is based on those from the Michoacan area of Mexico. It’s an uncooked table salsa used to add tasty heat to dishes; it is never used as an ingredient in a recipe. Charring the tomatoes and chiles gives the salsa a smoky taste. The de arbol chile is a long, slender chile that looks mild enough—but be cautious; it can take the top of your head and the heat hangs in there for a long time.
Yield: ½ cup
8 to 12 dried chiles de arbol, stems removed
2 Roma tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Salt to taste
Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, add the chiles, tomatoes, and garlic, and dryroast, shaking the pan occasionally, until the skins start to blacken and the vegetables are soft. This can also be done under a broiler. Cool the vegetables. Remove the skins from the garlic.
Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse to coarsely blend, adding just enough water to form a sauce. Season to taste with salt.
This sauce may be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.