Mesquite Chiltepin Salsa

For my birthday I wanted to make a salsa that comprised my favorite chile as well as my favorite seasoning, so I decided to create a Mesquite Chiltepin Salsa.

This salsa is very hot from the extremely spicy chiltepins, but also has a delicious smokey flavor from the roasted tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, onions, as well as the three addictive mesquite seasonings (mesquite smoked sea salt, red mesquite salt and white mesquite salt).

The Mesquite Chiltepin Salsa goes great with just about any type of food (especially carne asada), but its also a fun salsa if you want to challenge your friends to a heat tolerance competition. (I may have done this to some family members at Thanksgiving this year.)

Chiltepins may be small in appearance, but they are one of the hottest chiles you can find. Their heat is comparable to a habanero on the Scoville Heat Scale, and it will hit you as soon as the chile reaches your tongue.

The spiciness is not the only reason why chiltepins are my favorite chile. Chiltepins are native to the southwest and can be found growing in certain wilderness areas in Southern Arizona. Growing up my parents always had a chiltepin plant at their house and I now have my own in my garden. Whenever I taste this pepper I will always think of home. It also helps that a chiltepin’s heat is reminiscent of a summer afternoon in the Sonoran Desert.

Chiltepins aren’t the only ingredient to remind me of my home. Just the slightest hint of a smokey-rich mesquite seasoning will have me thinking about hiking in a mesquite bosque along the Santa Cruz River.

For the Mesquite Chiltepin Salsa, I went with three different types of mesquite seasonings from the Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Company in Tumacacori, Arizona. The Mesquite Smoked Sea Salt has the best roasted taste out of the three, while the red mesquite salt has a great earthy flavor to it. The white mesquite salt may be my favorite because of a slight sweetness in it. The three of them together create one of the most pleasurable smells and tastes ever.

The Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Company has always been my go-to place for purchasing these mesquite seasonings. Here is a link to their store if you are interested in purchasing some of their mesquite seasonings for your salsa!

¼ cup Chiltepins
3 Large Tomatoes, roasted
4 slices White Onion, roasted
3 Garlic Cloves, roasted
1 Red Bell Pepper, roasted & stemmed
¼ cup White Vinegar
½ tsp Dried Mexican Oregano
½ tsp Black Mesquite Sea Salt
½ tsp Red Mesquite Salt
½ tsp White Mesquite Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper

Roast the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and garlic over the stove until lightly charred on all sides. Carefully, transfer the roasted ingredients into a blender as well as the chiltepins. Purée for 30 seconds and then add the vinegar and seasonings to the blender. Purée for one minute until well combined. Pour the salsa into a bowl and let sit in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving.

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