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      RECIPE TITLE "Roasty Guajillo Salsa with tangy tomatillos and sweet garlic" from Salsas That Cook : Using Classic Salsas To Enliven Our Favorite Dishes by Rick Bayless

    ... more great recipes by Rick Bayless on our GREAT CHEFS page!

    yieldsfor 2 CUPS difficultyeasy

    In this salsa resides magic — deeply traditional, soulful, rich red-chile magic. It's worlds away from roasted tomatoes and jalapenos (which is what most of us Americans think of as "salsa"), and it's on the other side of town from the more familiar red-chile mellowness of the preceding recipe. This is salsa with the robust roastiness of oil-toasted dried guajillos (they're bright in flavor, a little bitey) combined with sweet roasted garlic and onions, plus the zestiness of tomatillos. All in all, a most satisfying, most versatile, most Mexican-tasting salsa.

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    Vegetable oil 1/4 inch depth
    Dried guajillo chiles 4 (1 ounce)
    Tomatillos, husked 1 pound and rinsed (about 13 medium)
    White onion, sliced 1/2 small 1/4 inch thick (2 ounces)
    Garlic cloves, peeled 4
    Water about 3/4 cup
    Salt 1 1/2 teaspoons
    Sugar (optional) 1/2 teaspoon

    OTHER DRIED CHILE POSSIBILITIES:

    New Mexico chiles, pulla, onza, costeno, chipotle (morita), pasilla, ancho.

      RECIPE METHOD

    1. Heat the broiler. Pour the oil to a 1/4-inch depth in a small skillet and set over medium heat. Pull the stems off the chiles, then tear them open and shake out the seeds. By this time the oil should be hot. Lay a chile in it: the oil should be hot enough to bubble nicely — not slowly, not fiercely. Use a pair of tongs to turn it over several times as it toasts and changes color on the inside from dark cranberry red to a reddish tan; the toasting of each chile should take 15 to 20 seconds. Thoroughly toasting the chiles is essential for good flavor, but toasting them too long will result in bitterness in the finished salsa. Drain the toasted chiles on paper towels; they will crisp completely as they cool.

    2. Lay the whole tomatillos on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Set the pan 4 inches below the broiler and let roast until the tomatillos are softened and splotchy black in places (the skins will split), about 5 minutes; you are cooking the tomatillos through while they roast, which means they will change from light green to olive green in the process. With a pair of tongs, flip over the tomatillos and roast the other side for another 4 to 5 minutes or so. Set aside to cool. There is no need to peel off their darkened skins or cut out their cores.

    3. Turn the oven down to 425 degrees. On a similar pan or baking sheet, combine the onion (separated into rings) and the garlic. Set in the oven. Stir every couple of minutes, being careful to stir everything around, until the onions are deeply golden — they'll look somewhat wilted with a touch of char on some of the edges. The garlic should feel soft and be browned in spots. Total roasting time will be about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

    4. In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatillos with their juice and the dry toasted chiles. Process to quite a smooth puree. Scrape two-thirds of the puree into a large bowl. On a cutting board, roughly chop the onion and garlic. Add them to the blender still containing the rest of the chile mixture. Pulse repeatedly until all is moderately finely chopped. Scrape down the blender sides periodically to keep the mixture evenly moving through the blades; add a little water if needed to loosen everything up and keep it moving. Scrape into the bowl. Stir in enough water to give this salsa a light consistency.

    5. Taste and season highly with salt, remembering that condiments are more boldly seasoned than other foods. Now taste again and add a little sugar to balance any astringency from the chiles. If you're planning to use your salsa right away, simply pour it into a bowl and it's ready, or refrigerate it covered and use within 5 days.



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