Combining cocoa, sweet ancho, spicy, smoky chipotle, and toasty, fried almonds results in an earthy, slightly sweet flavor palette. Using chocolate doesn't make this a dessert salsa, but it was inspired by the flavor unsweetened cocoa brings to traditional mole sauces. This salsa is a bit on the thick side, which makes it perfect as a chip dip, or to slather onto tacos or quesadillas. I would probably even eat it on toast topped with a gooey fried egg.
The longer the salsa sits, the more the chocolate flavors come to the forefront. Serve it immediately for more of the chili flavor. The fried almonds would make a great bar snack on their own, especially with some added ground spices or smoky bacon.
About the Author: Suzanne Lehrer is a writer and recipe developer in New York and a recipe editor for Cooking Channel. When not curating her budding hot sauce collection, she puts her French Culinary Institute education to good use in kitchens all around town. Follow her recipes and cooking adventures at TheSuzChef.com and on twitter @the_suzchef
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- 1 dried ancho chili, stemmed, seeded
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- Kosher or sea salt
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon agave
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
Toast ancho chili in dry skillet over medium heat until reddish in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil boil. Transfer to blender or food processor and let sit until softened, about 15 minutes. Blend until smooth.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add almonds and fry, stirring constantly, until dark brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer immediately to paper towels to drain; sprinkle with salt. Add almonds to blender with ancho purée along with chocolate, vinegar, agave, and chipotle. Pulse until combined. Season with salt. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to overnight and serve at room temperature.