Good dried chiles should not be completely dry. They should still be quite pliable, and these are just that. Awhile back, I made a nice salsa with their fiery dried chipotle chiles, and recently ground some chipotles into a powder for a recipe. Outstanding stuff. Their chilies are wonderful.
They had a chile that I had never seen in dried form before - serrano chilies. I had to buy some to check them out.
|Dried serrano chiles|
Here is a quick salsa recipe I threw together with some things in my pantry. This is a pretty hot salsa, even with the seeds and veins of the chiles removed. But it is delicious if you dig the hot stuff. Smoky, spicy, a subtle sweetness, and some freshness from the cilantro. Yum!
If you don't have fire-roasted tomatoes (Muir Glen is my brand of choice), don't sweat it. Regular tomatoes are fine, but the fire-roasted ones add to the smoky, roasted flavor of the salsa, and it plays nicely with the dried serrano chiles. And don't skip the steps of pan-roasting the onions and garlic, along with toasting the spices. This, too, adds layers of flavor to the finished salsa.
|Dried Serrano Salsa|
-makes about 2 cups
-14.5 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
-4 dried serrano chilies
-1 small onion, sliced thick
-3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
-1/2 t. ground cumin
-1/2 t. dried Mexican oregano
-1/2 t. kosher salt
-A few grinds of black pepper
-1/2 c. cilantro leaves
Add the tomatoes to a blender. Set aside.
In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the serrano chilies until fragrant. Soak in hot water until soft. Discard the water. Split open, remove the seeds and veins (be careful not to rub your eyes, or wear some plastic gloves while doing this, because these seeds are fiery), and add to the blender.
Pan-roast the onion and garlic until slightly blackened and soft. Add the onions to the blender. Allow the garlic to cool just enough to handle, peel the cloves, and add to the blender.
Toast the cumin and Mexican oregano in the hot skillet, just for a few seconds until fragrant. Add to the blender, along with the salt and pepper.
Blend until you have a slightly textured liquid. Add the cilantro. Pulse a couple of times just to chop up the cilantro. Serve with your favorite chips, tacos, or however you like your hot salsa.