This creation of mine was inspired by xnipec, the classic salsa found in the Yucatán. In the Mayan language, the name means “dog’s nose,” because those who eat this fiery, habañero-based condiment find themselves with a runny, wet one like that of man’s best friend. Heat is the key; so resist the temptation to discard the chile seeds. Let the salsa sit for about an hour before serving to allow the flavors to develop. The heat level will have mellowed a bit by the time serve it. In the finished salsa, the roasted ingredients should be floating freely in lime and orange juices, a combination that approximates the sour orange common in the Yucatán.
Makes 1 1⁄2 cups
1 small red onion, cut into ½-inch-thick round slices
8 pencil-thin scallions, trimmed to 6 or 7 inches
1 habañero chile, stemmed
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 T fresh lime juice, or more to taste
3 T chopped cilantro
½ tsp salt
- Heat heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Roast onions, scallions, and habañero chile in skillet, turning onions over once.
- Cook until habañero is brown in spots and soft, 8 to 12 minutes; scallions tender and browned with some black patches but greens still moist, 10 to 12 minutes; and the onions tender and charred on both sides, 15 to 25 minutes.
- When roasted vegetables and chiles are cool enough to handle, mince and add them to bowl with orange and lime juices, cilantro, and salt.
- Let salsa stand for 1 hour.
- Season to taste with additional lime juice and salt. Covered salsa will keep in refrigerator for 1 day.