…or, as my friend Jamila said when she tried this salsa, “the best thing you’ve never tasted”. Despite being featured in a recent issue of Bon Appetit, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this and many other dips and salsas at Empellon Cocina in NYC. So imagine my joy when I found this recipe while reading Bon Appetit on my way home from a trip to Mexico!
This is super easy to make….including the “smoking your own cashews but you don’t have a smoker” step. Just 5 ingredients and some wood chips (available at many hardware and food shops this time of year), this salsa is really something special. It can be make a week ahead of time, and can sit outside at your barbecue without fear of spoiling/going bad. I’ve even been know to dip grilled chicken in it…YUM. This transports well and is an excellent dish to bring to those outdoor summer parties.
Smoked Cashew Salsa (adapted from Bon Appetit)
This really is a special salsa. It is equally good served with tortilla chips or raw veggies and makes a wonderful mexican-style chicken satay dip. I use a little less sugar than the original recipe, as cashews tend to have a sweet flavor to begin with. Start with a small amount of chipotle and build from there. You know my motto….you can add heat, but can’t take it away!
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1-2 chipotle chiles (from a can)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup water
kosher salt to taste
2 tablespoons wood chips (small pieces, I use a shredded type), soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained.
Line the bottom of a heavy, medium sized pot with foil. Don’t use a pretty pot….you may get some smoke stains on the pot. Scatter wood chips on foil. Place cashews in a steamer basket and place over soaked wood chips. Cover pot, and place over medium heat. Lower heat when smoke starts to come out from under lid, and smoke cashews for about 15 minutes (cashews will be smoky brown, see below). Try not to remove the lid too often, as you will loose smoke. Remove steamer basket and allow cashews to cool.
Place cashews in food processor and pulse until cashews are finely ground. Add chiles, sugar and water and process to a smooth consistency, adding water in small amounts if necessary. Add salt to taste, and more chipotle if you like it spice.
This salsa can be made up to a week ahead of time, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.