Thai-Style Grilled Chile Salsa

An Anaheim pepper is a mild variety of chili pepper. The name “Anaheim” derives from Emilio Ortega, a farmer who brought the seeds to the Anaheim, California, area in the early 1900s.

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Serves: 2 cups

4 to 5 hot banana peppers or anaheim peppers (*Footnote 1)
2 shallots, peeled and quartered
8 cloves garlic, peeled and halved (*Footnote 2)
230 grams (8 oz) cherry tomatoes (about 1 and 1⁄2 cups)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoons fish sauce (*Footnote 3)
Sea salt to taste

Place banana peppers, shallots and garlic in a grill basket on preheated barbecue or arrange on a baking sheet and place under a preheated broiler. Grill or broil, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking, until shallots and garlic are blackened and pepper skin is blistered, about 8 minutes for garlic and shallots, and 10 minutes for peppers.

Transfer peppers to a bowl, cover with a plate and let cool enough to handle. Remove stems and lift off skins. Transfer peppers along with accumulated juices to food processor fitted with the metal blade (*Footnote 4).

Add shallots and garlic and pulse until chopped and well combined, 5 or 6 times. Add tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and fish sauce and pulse until chopped and well combined, about 5 times. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to a serving bowl and let stand at room temperature until the flavors are melded, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

(1) You want a relatively large and not-too-hot chile for this salsa – that is the best substitute for the Nam Prik Num chile that would likely be used in this recipe in Thailand. Heat levels will vary depending on your choice, but reliable options include Anaheim or Hungarian wax peppers, as well as the hot banana peppers called for in the ingredients list. For a milder version, substitute with half Cubanelle peppers.

(2) A grill basket is helpful for roasting the garlic and shallots on the barbecue, because it will keep small pieces from falling through the grate. The garlic will likely be done before the shallots, in which case just remove it and set it aside.

(3) Be sure to use gluten-free fish sauce if you are making this salsa for someone who is sensitive to gluten.

(4) If you do not have a food processor, you can chop the grilled peppers, shallots, and garlic and grind them with a mortar and pestle.