Cayenne is a red or green hot chili pepper used to flavor chile food dishes and is also used for medicinal purposes. Named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, it is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, and others.

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2 medium red onions, very thinly sliced on a mandoline
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped
2 fresh cayenne or serrano chiles, seeded and minced
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
Freshly ground pepper


In a medium heatproof bowl, toss the onions with 1 tablespoon of salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes longer. Pour the onions into a colander, rinse under cold water and drain well, and pat dry.

Wipe out the bowl with paper towels and return the onions to it. Stir in the tomato, chiles, lime juice and cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Serve at room temperature.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Make Ahead The ají can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

From foodandwine.com