Peanut and Árbol Chili Salsa

Many of my American friends are surprised and a bit put off to hear that Mexicans use peanuts in salsas, but it’s actually quite common — after all, we even make peanut butter drinks! I think what comes to mind, and what might sound unpleasant, is peanut butter on a taco, so let me assure you that this salsa is nothing like Jif. One taste and you’ll find yourself spooning it over roast chicken and grilled steak, serving it as a dip for shrimp, and yes, even adding it to your tacos.

2 tablespoons mild olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
6  dried árbol chilies, wiped clean and stemmed
8  whole {black peppercorns}
6  whole {allspice berries}
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon {dried thyme} leaves
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fine {salt}
Heat the oil in a small (7-to 8-inch) heavy skillet over medium-low heat, then add the onion, peanuts, árbol chilies, peppercorns, allspice, garlic, and thyme and fry, stirring constantly, until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes.

Pour all ingredients from the skillet into the blender jar, then add the water, vinegar, and salt, and blend until very smooth, adding more water 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to obtain a silky puree. You will need to blend for at least 2 minutes. Be careful when you’re blending hot ingredients: Cover the top with a kitchen towel, and hold the top firmly in place with your hand. Let the salsa cool to room temperature before you serve it. Season to taste with additional salt.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 5 min

Servings: makes 1 cup

Recipe By: Roberto Santibañez

From:  Truly Mexican
Used with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Chef Suggestions
This salsa keeps in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to one month.