Dog Snout Salsa

OK; this concoction might just make the Wolfman‘s nose run with spicy delight!

The recipe for this Yucatán salsa dates all the way back to the ancient Mayans. I have modified and enhanced the recipe with touches of my own. Note that habanero (ah-bah-NAY-roe; I hear this word mispronounced all of the time. The “H” is silent and there’s no Spanish tilde over the “N” like in the middle of “mañana”) peppers are incredibly hot, even for a hot pepper lover like me. When you mince them, wear rubber gloves; otherwise, you might accidentally touch your eyes. YIKES! That would be an EXTREMELY painful experience!

DOG SNOUT SALSA
(Mayan Name: Xnipek)

2 fresh habanero chile peppers (scotch bonnets may be substituted for habaneros. They’re just as hot but a little fruitier)
2 medium-to-large tomatoes, chopped
1 small-to-medium white or purple (whichever is sweetest and mildest) onion, chopped
1/3 cup bitter orange juice (see below)
3 tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro (aka Chinese parsley)
1/3 cup (or a little more) fresh, dark, sweet pomegranate seeds

To make Bitter Orange Juice:
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons lime juice

Mix the ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Use within 24 hours. Yield: 3/4 cup.

Back to the salsa…
Remove the stems and seeds from the habanero peppers (don’t forget to wear rubber gloves!), then finely chop them, just slightly larger than if you minced them.

Combine all of the ingredients except for the cilantro. Let the mixture sit for two hours to blend the flavors. Add the cilantro just before you serve it. Yield: 2 cups

Serve it with Mexican restaurant-style tortilla chips (not crap “fake” chips like Doritos).

The salsa will keep in the fridge for two or three days (if it’s not all eaten within the first hour. I usually make a triple batch). Personally, I like salsa best when it’s chilled.

This is a very refreshing salsa. The citrus juices and the pomegranate seeds (one of my own non-traditional touches) make for a cool sweet/tart counterpoint to the saltiness of the chips and the spiciness of the peppers. I’ll bet a few chopped pieces of tangerines or mandarin oranges (remove the seeds of either before chopping) or mango would be a nice addition to the recipe. Make sure you don’t use too much onion; it can overwhelm everything else.

Let me know what you think! It’s always a big hit with my family.

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