Roasted Chili Salsa

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  8 servings
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  5 minutes

Roasted Chili Salsa

Smoky and fragrant, this salsa is a marriage of a variety of dried chili peppers. Fresh ripe tomatoes make this a well balanced and memorable salsa. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or celery sticks. Allow about half an hour for the roasted chilies to cool.


1 dried pasilla (negro) chili pepper, sliced or broken in half, all seeds removed (see Kitchen Tips)

1 dried ancho or mulato chili pepper, sliced or broken in half, all seeds removed (see Kitchen Tips)

2 dried Anaheim (California) chili peppers, sliced or broken in half, all seeds removed (see Kitchen Tips)

12 large fresh plum tomatoes, halved, blossom (top) ends removed

2 small or 1 large onion, peeled and halved

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste if needed

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon agave nectar

1½ teaspoons fresh lime juice


  1. Bring a kettle of water to a boil and set a large skillet or saucepan over high heat. When it  is very hot, add all the dried chilies to the dry pan and cook for 1 minute. Stir and turn with tongs, and cook for 1 more minute, until very fragrant but not burned. They may be slightly blistered. Place the chilies into a small bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. Set aside to soak for 30 to 35 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh strainer. Remove and discard any stems or slip off any skin that easily slides off the chilies. (For some, the skin will slide off easily, and for some it just won’t; leave those stubborn skins just as they are.) Set all of the chilies aside.
  2. While the chilies are soaking, preheat the broiler and line an oven-proof pan with aluminum foil. Place the tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a medium-sized bowl. Add the oil, salt, and pepper and toss to coat well. Scatter the vegetables in the pan and broil about 6 inches from the heat, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned.
  3. Blend the vegetables and chilies in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add the agave nectar and lime juice and blend until combined. Season to taste with salt and serve.

Kitchen Tips

Chili peppers are a world unto themselves. Dried chilies can be found in the fresh produce section of most major groceries, health food supermarkets, and through many vendors online. They can be kept in a closed container in the refrigerator for about 3 months without any change in taste.


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