Capsicum chinense is a beautiful little berry, but it has this unfortunate habit of making your mouth feel as if you just smoked a stick of dynamite after quaffing a pint of lighter fluid. So how to harness the bright flavor and hurts-so-good intensity of the habanero? Pair it with the sweet tropical taste and rich texture of mango in a salsa. Fresh mango habanero salsa is a great dip for tortilla chips and is also excellent as a topping for pork, poultry, or fish. This is a pretty basic version, so feel free to personalize it. Be forewarned – the burn sneaks up on you, and sticks around for a long time.
Your ingredients. I only ended up using two mangoes, two tomatoes, two limes, and half the onion. Used all three habaneros though…
Chop up your peppers. Wear gloves, and for the love of all that is holy, do NOT touch your eyes, nose, or anything else sensitive (get your mind out of the gutter, but seriously, don’t) after handling chilis. There’s a reason they make pepper spray out of capsaicin (Hint: it’s because it hurts, a lot). After chopping, I put these through the food processor with the water. The goal here is to get a nice even distribution of habanero heat rather than little pockets of death.
Cut up your mangoes…
and your tomatoes. Obviously the yellow/orange tomatoes are key to the color – look for them at a grocery store that sells heirloom tomatoes (I got these at Whole Foods).
Slice your onions.
Juice a couple limes. You’re going for a quarter cup of juice or so.
Throw it all in your food processor or blender with vinegar, oil, and salt.
Blend till everything is incorporated but still a little chunky (or however you like it). Chill for a couple hours (overnight is better), then serve with tortilla chips.
This stuff is addictively tasty and remarkably easy to make . I might try this again with a little cumin and/or cilantro. Switching from yellow to green onion might also be interesting.
Mango Habanero Salsa (adapted from Great-Salsa.com):
- 2 mangoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 yellow or orange tomatoes, chopped
- 1-3 habanero peppers (more is better, of course)
- 1/2 a medium yellow onion
- juice of 2 limes (~1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbl. olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. salt
In a food processor or blender, process habaneros with the water until very finely shredded. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until well mixed but a little chunky. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving to let the flavors mingle.
Makes ~4 cups