So, if you've been reading here the last couple of weeks you'll know that I, and my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs, have been getting to know Rick Bayless. Despite my initial reticence, after a couple of dishes, I've warmed to him slightly, so with our theme this week being "Feel the Heat!" I was wondering just how warm things were going to get. We were challenged to break out the chillies and dial up the heat.
Quite a challenge indeed, as I do have chilli issues - not that I have a problem with chillies, it's just that getting anything that packs a bit of a punch here is not so easy. I wasn't sure what I was going to make, but I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be a big pot full of chilli. Funny thing, but I'm pretty sure that if someone made chilli for me I would love it and scoff down every single mouthful, probably even go back for more, but it's not something I've ever felt inspired to make myself - and still don't - but never say never, maybe that will change before we're done with Rick.
Anyway, trawling through his website for some inspiration, I came across his recipe for a Tangy Peanut-Avocado Salsa and, incredibly, I actually had all the necessary ingredients on hand. Well ... actually ... not exactly. The recipe did call for a couple of serrano chillies, which are not available here, so I used one of the long skinny ones I showed you in this post last week (seeds and all), and the little round one from the same post, which turned out to be quite hot, without the seeds.
Now, looking at the photos, you probably don't need me to tell you that in the looks department this is probably the least appealing thing I've ever posted. Still this "salsa" which is really more like a sauce or dip, certainly makes up for its unfortunate looks in taste, and packs quite a punch. Just how much punch will of course depend entirely on the chillies you use.
I had a friend for dinner last night and served this salsa with a simple piece of pan roasted salmon, and a fresh green salad with fennel and avocado. The salsa was perfect to cut through the richness of the salmon, and at the same time the fats in the salmon seemed to balance out the heat of the salsa.
This is a great quick accompaniment to make to go with almost anything, and chances are you'll almost always have all the ingredients on hand, ready to quickly liven up a piece of fish or even (as I discovered tonight) roasted vegetables.
Tangy Peanut-Avocado Salsa Recipe
Adapted (hardly at all) from this recipe by Rick Bayless
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
2 tablespoons roasted, unsalted peanuts
2 chillies, stemmed (deseeding, optional), roughly chopped
large handful fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 ripe avocado
flaky sea salt
Put the peanuts, chillies, coriander, water, and lemon and lime juices into your blender, and blitz until smooth.
Remove the pit and skin from the avocado, and discard. Roughly chop the flesh and add to the blender Pulse until well blended.
Add salt to taste, and add extra water if necessary.
If you would like to get to know Rick a little better, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all cooked up ...