Discoveries in Food and Wine

Ghost Pepper Salsa 1-2-3


The Ghost Pepper


1 Ghost Pepper

2 Habañero Pepper

3 Jalapeño Pepper

2 cloves garlic

28 oz diced tomatoes

½ cup onion

Salt and pepper to taste

Juice of 1 medium lime

(optional) cilantro

It’s amazing how one little pepper can pack so much punch, but that’s the case with the Ghost Pepper.  We have one Ghost and one Habañero plant out back. The Habañero is on its second crop of the summer, producing so many that I’m not sure what I’ll do with all of them.  Habañero jelly is probably in the future. The Ghost has just offered up its first few beauties, like the one you see above, so it was time to work with it.

Despite being extremely hot, this might be my favorite salsa ever.  The flavor blend of the three peppers gives the salsa a depth I haven’t previously experienced.

Salsa at its core is relatively simple to make.  Get your ingredients, roast the peppers, peel, then pulse everything together in a food processor, and you’re done.  So it is with my Ghost Pepper Salsa 1-2-3, so named for the number of each peppers.

I’ve found that roasting both the Habañero and Jalapeño gives the salsa a great flavor.  I roast them under a broiler (a hot grill also works), turning them until the skins blister.  Habañero skins aren’t as easy to peel off as jalapeño, so I simply leave them on.  I didn’t roast the Ghost this time because I wanted to see what it brought naturally.  When the plant yields another one, I’ll remake the salsa, this time roasting the Ghost as well.

WARNING! Use kitchen gloves to handle the habañero and jalapeño.  Remember to clean off the knife immediately as well to avoid any cross-contamination.

When I first made the salsa, I found the heat too forward. Adding the juice of the whole lime settled that down quite a bit, pushing it toward the back end, allowing you to get the full flavor experience before the heat comes in full force.  In the charts you see sometimes in restaurants, this one is the person with the two little Xs for eyes, so tread carefully.