Recipe: Grilled Pepper Salsa

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Okay, so this salsa is actually textured much more like a relish or tapenade: thick, finely chopped, made for spreading. But the spicy flavor is all salsa, all the time. Using the grill is key here, so don't try to cheat with your broiler, but it's well worth it. Excellent as a dip or, better yet, as a topping for grilled goods of any kind, it is simply impossible to make too much.

Don't take my mixture of peppers here, which I would call "medium spicy," as orthodoxy. You should maintain an approximately even ratio of sweet-to-spicy peppers, but beyond that experimentation is a wonderful thing. If you prefer milder, replace the jalapenos with an equal number of pablanos. If you want more heat, use habaneros instead of jalapenos. If you believe any food that calls itself spicy should send its diner into uncontrollable sweating, double the habaneros. I have tried this and it was, if nothing else, not a boring meal. If you want the same level of kick as my recipe but dislike the distinct jalapeno flavor--understandable, given the pepper's ubiquity--substitute serranos and double the quantity.

Makes 4 servings.

    • 1 green bell peppers, cut into quarters, stem and seeds removed
    • 1 red bell peppers, cut into quarters, stem and seeds removed
    • 2 jalapeno peppers, stems removed
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoons Olive oil
    • 1/4 cup sour cream

Place the bell pepper quarters and jalapenos on a charcoal or gas grill. Cook until lightly browned and the skin begins to blister, about ten to twenty minutes, turning occasionally. The exterior side of the bell pepper quarters should be significantly more cooked than the interior. Transfer peppers to a bowl or other container, cover, and let stand ten minutes.

Peel the peppers. Place them in a food processor, chopping if necessary. (If you're concerned it will be too spicy, remove the seeds from the jalapenos.) Mince to a relish-like consistency.

Combine the garlic and oil in a frying pan, cooking at medium heat for two to three minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the peppers. Transfer to a serving bowl and mix in the sour cream.

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Max Fisher is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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