Monday, August 15, 2011

hot tomato!

It's on! During my recent visit to Saratoga Springs, NY I stopped by the Saratoga Salsa and Spice Company store to pick up a few jars of my all time favorite salsa: a tomatillo and serrano chili concoction called Hotter than Hot. I just love the stuff.
It lives up to its name with a serious sting, yet has a great smokey flavor that keeps me dipping in for more. The owner of the store, noting my enthusiasm, began telling me about a few new products he is developing including a version of Hotter than Hot that will be extra mild (what?!) as well as a roasted garlic version. He asked me if I had any recipes using the salsa that I might like to share. Well, um, actually, no, I didn't. I had never really thought about cooking with the salsa, I am usually just piling it on top of eggs, burgers or anything off the grill.  Hmmm, it was time for me to give this some consideration.
With all the tomatoes on my hands an idea popped up: a spicy sauce to put on top of some cheese ravioli I had bought for dinner. The recipe started to take shape as I began cooking. Cherry tomatoes sauteed in butter and sugar were cooked to a jammy consistency as a sweet counter balance to the fiery salsa. I finished the sauce with a shot of heavy creamy to further tame the flames. The result was sublime! I only need a dash of Hotter than Hot to get the full hit of its distinctive flavor. It combined beautifully with the tomatoes and the cream and the sauce was heaven on top of the ravioli.

While I was busy at the stove putting this recipe together I pulled out of the fridge some cooked leftover potatoes and green beans, delectable farmers market finds that I had been eating all week. It occurred to me to make a quick spicy potato salad using a combo of the salsa with mayonnaise to dress the cold vegetables. Excellent! Don't serve it to the faint of heart, but if you happen to be attending a pot luck dinner with say, some foodies from Brooklyn (ok, maybe not this weekend), you will be the hit of the party.

 Saratoga Salsa and Spice Company, there you are - TWO recipes. Enjoy!

Spicy Creamy Tomato Sauce

•In a sauce pan heat 1 tablespoon of butter
• Add half a pint of cherry tomatoes and tablespoon of sugar to the tomatoes and gently cook till the tomatoes have burst their skins and get a jammy consistency, about 15 minutes.
•Add 1-2 tablespoons of Hotter Than Hot salsa, or any other tomatillo salsa, and stir in pan to heat through and combine with the tomatoes.
•Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and simmer for 2 minutes.
•Serve over cheese ravioli or tortellini

Spicy Potato and Green Bean Salad

•In a large bowl combine 2 cups of cooked potatoes cut into small cubes with one cup of cooked green beans cut into 1 inch pieces.
•Add 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1/4 cup chopped onion 
In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 1 Tablespoon Hotter Than Hot salsa, or any other tomatillo salsa
•Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the vegetables and toss to combine. Chill for one hour.
•Garnish with 2 tablespoons chopped chives or parsley and serve.

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