I came across manzano chiles for the first time this weekend while visiting my sister in San Diego. We were shopping at the Northgate Gonzalez Market in Chula Vista, where they have an incredible variety of chiles. The manzanos caught my eye with their bright orangish color. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use these rare chiles for a Chile Manzano Salsa.
Manzano chiles originated in the Andes Mountains and are generally grown in higher elevations. They can be hard to find outside of South America and Mexico.
Manzanos are about twice as hot as a jalapeño, but also contain a sweet and citrusy flavor. You can almost think of them as a cross between a milder habanero and a small bell pepper. Manzano refers to an “apple” in Spanish, and these peppers have a similar shape to an apple.
For the Chile Manzano Salsa, I decided to combine the manzanos with a poblano, which has a little more heat, but still a bearable taste. I ended up charring both of the chiles as well as the garlic and onions, hoping to add some roasted flavor to the salsa. I also added lime juice increasing the acidity. The heat and citrus were definitely the flavors that stood out in this unique salsa.
The Chile Manzano Salsa was a perfect compliment to carne asada tacos, as well as a spicy snack for my sister’s birthday party. If you ever come across these special chiles at the market, you need to take advantage of the opportunity to make this salsa!
1 Manzano Chile, roasted and stemmed
½ Poblano, roasted and stemmed
1/3 cup Cilantro
1 Green onion, roasted
2 Garlic Cloves, roasted
2 Limes, juiced
¼ tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
1/8 tsp Ground Oregano
Roast the peppers, green onion, and the garlic on a comal until slightly charred on all sides. After the peppers have finished roasting, remove their stems and seeds. Then place all the ingredients in the blender and purée for a minute. Pour the salsa into a bowl and place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving.