Salsa Brava

This salsa is not for the faint of heart with an intense habañero heat and plenty of citric acid in my version of Salsa Brava.

Brava is translated to “brave” in Spanish and to eat this salsa you need to be ready for a challenge. The combination of six roasted habañeros, a red fresno, a bit of chipotle seasoning, plus the juice of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit offers a variety of vigorous flavors.

I was inspired to make this salsa after receiving several lemons and grapefruits from my Tia and Tio’s trees in Glendale, Arizona. My lemon tree in Tucson is also filled with lemons ready to be picked. January is the perfect time to harvest citrus fruits in Arizona, so why not incorporate all these delicious fruits into a salsa.

To compliment the tangy fruits, I wanted to use one of the most powerful peppers I could find. Habañeros were the perfect choice with their extreme spiciness as well as their beautiful orange color that reminds me of citrus. The inclusion of a fresno pepper was actually for the purpose of color, to break up the orange hue of the salsa with a bit of red (plus a little extra heat to the dish).

I used Salsa Brava on top of my roasted chicken, which I had also marinated with a variety of citrus juices as well as tequila. The salsa was an exciting addition for that Sunday meal around the grill. I suggest trying Salsa Brava with any roasted meat or as a spicy challenge among friends to see who is the bravest.

6 habañeros, seeded & roasted
1 red fresno, seeded & roasted
3 garlic cloves, roasted
1 large slice white onion
1 orange, juiced
1 grapefruit, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
¼ tbsp salt
¼ tbsp pepper
¼ tbsp chipotle seasoning

Carefully remove the seeds and stems from the habañeros and fresno. Then place the chiles, onion, and garlic over the stove, roasting for at least four minutes until lightly charred. Once they are done roasting, cut the habaneros into quarters and the fresno into small slices. Then transfer the chiles slices as well as the garlic, onion, and the seasonings to a molcajete or bowl and grind until well combined.

Juice the orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon. Add each of the juices into the bowl and stir for at least 30 seconds until well combined.

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