My Tío Tony (one of the best salsa cooks I know) recently recommended that I try to use roasted peaches in a salsa. Well, it just so happened that one of the more popular items at the Heirloom Farmers Market at Rillito Park were peaches. So this week’s Sunday Salsa is a new creation for me, Salsa Durazno Asado.
Don’t be fooled by the fiery colors of this salsa. There is minimal heat in Salsa Durazno Asado, as the sweetness is what captures your taste buds with the combination of the roasted peaches and guajillo chiles.
Roasting peaches significantly brings out the richness of the fruit, while also adding that smokey-toasted flavor. I decided to use my comal (flat cast iron pan) on top of my stove to roast the yellow peaches. I considered grilling them outside, but with Tucson already reaching 100 degrees at 11 a.m. I wanted to stay inside the house. Plus the house always smells incredible when roasting fruit and vegetables in the kitchen.
The peaches were not the only ingredient I roasted on the comal. I began cooking by slightly toasting the guajillos (don’t over roast the chiles or else they’ll taste bitter), to help bring the dried peppers back to life. I then placed the guajillos in warm water for 30 minutes, allowing the chiles to become flimsy and also create a new essential ingredient at the same time.
By soaking the guajillos you create chile-flavored water. Guajillos are very tame chiles (have more of a savory taste), but the little heat they do possess can be tasted in the water. That’s why I add 3/4 cup of the chile-water to the blender to increase the heat as well as make the salsa a smoother texture.
That smooth and sweet texture of Salsa Durazno Asado goes great with fish, pork, and chicken. I used the salsa with my carnitas tacos, which already had a sweet flavor. I’m a big fan of marinating my carnitas in Mexican Coca-Cola (the coke that’s usually in glass bottles). Mexican coke is made with real cane sugar instead of corn syrup, so I like to use that natural sweetness as a fun method for cooking carnitas.
4 Guajillo Chiles, roasted, rehydrated
2 Yellow Peaches, sliced, roasted
2 Garlic Cloves
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp apple cider vinegar
¾ cup chile water (from the soaked guajillos)
Roast the guajillos over the stove (comal) for five seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Then place the guajillos in a bowl of warm water to soak for 30 minutes (do NOT discard the water when completed). Meanwhile, cut the peaches in half removing the nut and the area surrounding the nut. Roast the peaches on the stove (comal) or grill for about 15 minutes (you want the peaches to be medium charred and very squishy), turning over on each side every 3-4 minutes. Also, roast the garlic cloves for 5 minutes or until slightly charred. Place the roasted peaches in the blender and purée for 10 seconds. Then take ¾ cup of the chile water from the guajillos and place in the blender along with the chiles and garlic. Blend for 30 seconds and then add the seasonings as well as the apple cider vinegar to the blender. Purée for one minute before serving.