I wish more people knew this salsa. It’s incredibly delicious, it is radiantly spicy, and it has an incredible texture. But It’s not creamy from dairy or even avocado, as most people expect. Its velvety texture comes from oil, a little like a classic aioli.
I first learned this salsa from a cook in Oaxaca, but cooks throughout Mexico know it—just not a lot of them. That first version was made with simmered jalapeños and garlic; since then, I’ve learned that browned jalapeños produce a much richer, more complex salsa. I’d say that this salsa isn’t necessarily an every-day offering, like Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa. But once you try it, you’ll find it on your table more often than not.
1cupolive or vegetable oil (or a combination of the two)
3large, fresh jalapeño chiles, stemmed and cut in half lengthwise
6garlic cloves, peeled
Asmall handful of cilantro
The juice of half of a large lime
Set a large (10-inch) skillet over medium high heat. When hot, film with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then lay in the chiles and whole garlic. Cook, turning everything regularly until richly browned, 5 or 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely (if the chiles and garlic aren’t cool, the sauce will break). Scrape the chiles, garlic and oil into a blender jar. Add the cilantro, then cover and turn on the blender to medium speed. While the blender is running, remove the cap in the middle of the lid and slowly pour in the olive oil. Blend until the salsa is very smooth. Taste and season with salt, usually a generous ½ teaspoon, and lime juice. Reblend to incorporate the salt and lime and you’re ready to serve.