If you love to challenge your tastebuds with lots of spice, then superchef Alex Stupak's homemade salsa habanero has your name on it.
Stupak serves it up alongside his mouthwatering Cochinita Pibil Tacos, featured in the April issue of InStyle, on newsstands now. But take note: "It's not like a pico de gallo that you might scoop up with a chip," he says. "This is a true salsa where a little bit goes a long way."
He invited us into his immaculate kitchen at Empellon Cocina in New York's East Village to watch him whip up a batch, all while the chefs around him grilled tomatillos and cleaned freshly caught squid for that day's menu, the air fragrant with corn tortillas and toasting spices. Find the recipe below, along with short GIFs of Stupak demonstrating the various steps involved in the preparation.
Alex Stupak's Fiery Habanero Salsa
Total time: 40 minutes
Makes: 2 cups
10 fresh habanero or Scotch bonnet chiles
1 small white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lime
1. Heat a medium cast-iron skillet over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the habaneros and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until blackened in spots, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chiles to a bowl and let cool.
2. Return the skillet to moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, turning, until blackened in spots and softened slightly, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle the oregano over the onion and cook until fragrant. Scrape the onion into a blender and add the sugar, vinegar, salt, and citrus juices and zests.
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