Chile-Cilantro Pesto

This chile pepper gets its name from its origin. In Spanish, serrano is an adjective meaning “from the mountains” which is where it originated-in the mountains of Hildalgo, Mexico. The serrano is normally about twice as hot as Jalapeno (about 10,000 to 15,000 Scoville units). It is the second most popular chile pepper in Mexico. This chile is used mostly for salsas but can also be used in soups, sauces, chili or stews. Try these as a hotter substitute for Jalapeno.

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Ingredients:

6 unpeeled garlic cloves
2 to 3 serrano chiles
2 packed cups small parsley sprigs
2 packed cups small cilantro sprigs
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for covering
Salt

Instructions:

Heat a small cast-iron skillet. Add the garlic and chiles and cook over moderate heat, turning, until lightly charred all over, about 15 minutes. Let cool, then peel the garlic. Split the chiles lengthwise and remove most of the seeds. Coarsely chop the chiles. Transfer the garlic and chiles to a food processor or blender. Add the parsley, cilantro and the 1/2 cup of olive oil and puree. Season the pesto with salt and transfer to a clean jar. Pour in enough olive oil to to cover the pesto by 1/4 inch and refrigerate for up to 2 months.

Makes 1 cup.

Recipe by Rick Bayless, via foodandwine.com