X-Ni-Pek has the same concept of a pico de gallo with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, but the addition of habañeros and oranges gives this salsa a tropical flair with a powerful heat.
This salsa originated in the Yucatán from the Mayans. The name X-Ni-Pek is a Mayan phrase for “Wet Dog Nose,” which came about because this salsa is so hot that it could make a dog’s nose sweat. I decided to try the X-Ni-Pek recipe from Chef Margarita Carrillo Arronte’s book Mexico: The Cookbook. Chef Margarita’s recipe is very simple and easy to use.
When I first tried X-Ni-Pek I only had a white onion and Zima Tomatoes (Orange Grape Tomatoes) available at my house. They were great substitutes for the recipe, as the Zima Tomatoes boosted the overall sweetness to the salsa.
I also went with habañeros from the grocery store, as the ones in my garden are barely forming peppers right now. Habañeros take forever to grow. I started growing my habañero plant this year in April and it has taken seven months for the peppers to even form. Last year I didn’t have my first fruits until December. Thankfully living in a warm-winter environment like Tucson, the habañeros are perfect for surviving the “cold months.”
Once I had the X-Ni-Pek prepared, I decided to pair the salsa with a Yucatán Style Roasted Salmon recipe that I learned from Mely Martinez’s Mexico in My Kitchen website. Here is a link to Mely’s Yucatán Style Roasted Salmon recipe. The salmon tastes amazing and is not difficult to make as long as you have Achiote paste available. Achiote paste contains annatto seeds, cumin, pepper, coriander, oregano, cloves, and garlic, giving the salmon a beautiful red-smokey color. The salmon and X-Ni-Pek combined to make delicious tacos, full of flavors for my Sunday dinner.
X-Ni-Pek is one many great recipes I have tried from Chef Margarita’s Mexico The Cookbook. In fact, the cookbook is 700 pages full of traditional Mexican recipes from throughout the country.
Below is a link to Margarita’s cookbook as well as her recipe for X-Ni-Pek!