This salsa recipe was inspired by Ali Bustamante (far left in this photo), a dear family friend from Cusco, Peru. She gave the recipe to my Mom, and then I modified it and added some very serious heat to the mix.
Salsa Picante de Cusco
8 Tomatoes (2 of them grilled/roasted)
5 Jalapeno Peppers (2 of them grilled/roasted)
1 Habanero Pepper
3 Serrano Peppers
½ White Onion
2 bunches of Green Onions, sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper (grilled/roasted)
10-oz. Farmer’s Cheese
Whole Bulb of Garlic, minced
Sea Salt (to taste...not much)
Black Pepper - Fresh Ground
1/2 TSPN of Bhut Jolokia Powder (optional for serious heat)
Habanero Powder (to desired heat level)
Chili Powder (to desired heat level)
Cayenne Powder (to desired heat level)
1/2 TBSP of Olive Oil
Dash of Vinegar
Lime Juice from 1 Large Lime (approx. 1 to 2 oz.)
Grill or roast the two tomatoes, red bell pepper and two of the jalapenos until there is just a hint of char on the skin. Dice all the tomatoes and fresh peppers into small pieces. Let some of the water drain from the diced tomatoes (but not from the chili peppers). We want this salsa to be chunky, not soupy.
Dice the block of cheese into very small pieces. About 1/8th of an inch square.
Put the garlic, salt, black pepper, chili powder, cayenne powder, vinegar and lime juice into a food processor to blend smooth. Slowly add the olive oil. If no food processor, blend it well with a whisk or spoon, slowly adding the olive oil with this method as well.
Cut the fresh cilantro very fine and almost to a mash and mix into the salsa near the end of the mixing process.
Referigerate entire mix for at least 4 hours to let all the ingredients become friends.
Serve to the delight of your fans!
NOTE: This recipe won Best Hot Salsa and Best Overall Salsa in a salsa competition where I work, in October 2011. It delighted every "chili-head" at work, and even created a few new believers!