ANCHO CHILE AND DRIED FIG SALSA

Ancho chiles have a deep, fruity flavor…the perfect compliment to figs! This recipe is from the "Cooking With Figs" class I taught recently at the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden here in Phoenix. 

INGREDIENTS

1 small head of garlic

6 dried figs

3 Tbsp. olive oil

juice of one lemon

2 oz. dried ancho chiles (about three chiles)

3 Tbsp. mild honey

1/4 - 1/2 cup hot water

MISE EN PLACE

Preheat oven to 400F

Slice the garlic head in half to expose the cloves and drizzle with 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Wrap the garlic together in foil and bake in the middle of the oven until tender and fragrant, about 30 - 40 minutes. Cool.

While the garlic is roasting, toast the chiles on a heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning until fragrant, about 1 minute.  In a medium size bowl, soak the whole toasted chiles and figs in hot (boiling) water until softened, about 20 minutes.  Once rehydrated, remove the chiles and figs, reserving the soaking water.  Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles, set aside. 

Squeeze the garlic from the skins into a food processor or blender and puree with the chiles, figs, lemon juice, honey, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and salt to taste.  If the salsa is too thick, add the reserved hot water to thin out to desired consistency.  

This is a very thick, unique, and flavorful salsa that can be used as the base to many different sauces.  It works well as a marinade for fish, chicken, or my favorite, roasted vegetables! You can incorporate plain yogurt to make a light sandwich spread, or create a dressing by the addition of more acid such as lime juice or vinegar. Be creative!

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©