Salsa! – taste tests

summary: tasting notes on 5 salsas – each made with one kind of chile: Ancho, Cascabel, Chipotle, Guajillo, Morita

Here is the taste test for the various salsas that we made the other day. First we had to decide how best to make the salsa. After perusing a number of different salsa recipes, some of which included Worcestershire Sauce and/or ketchup and/or tomatoes, it was decided to keep things as simple as possible so that the flavour of the chosen chili is optimally featured. We made five different salsas using dried chiles,
water for soaking chiles, onion, corn oil, garlic, salt, and for some of them the tiniest amount of ground cumin, lime juice, and/or sugar. The method for making Dried Chile Salsa is here.

Tasting notes (ratings are out of 5 *****)

  1. Ancho Salsa:
    • nose: apple, plum, tamarind
    • taste: confirmation of fruit in aroma, slightly bitter finish
    • heat level: mild – slight heat at end
    • overall rating: ***** (5/5)
  2. Cascabel Salsa:
    • nose: plum, citrus, giuggioli (a certain wildness)
    • taste: creamy tomato sauce with a little heat
    • heat level: mild to medium
    • overall rating: ****½ (4.5/5) but we like it a lot
  3. Chipotle Salsa:
    • nose: smoky, slight sweetness, hint of citrus skin
    • taste: creamy, smoky, reminiscent of baked beans
    • heat level: medium
    • overall rating: ***** (5/5) – stellar
  4. Guajillo Salsa:
    • nose: baked beans, tomato, corn, over-stewed green beans
    • taste: fulfills the nose
    • heat level: medium
    • overall rating: **½ (2.5/5) – not that it’s bad
    • (cider vinegar improved the taste – lime juice would have been better. We probably won’t get guajillos again. They are very tough skinned on top of being slightly less pleasing to our taste.)
  5. Morita Salsa:
    • nose: smoky, hint of raisins
    • taste: smoky, sweet, hot
    • heat level: hot
    • overall rating: *****½ (5.5/5) – more than stellar
    • We did not add any cumin, lime juice OR sugar to the morita sauce.)

(For descriptions and photos of these and other chiles, please see Cooks’ Thesaurus – dried chile peppers)