Habanero Chiles, they are VERY spicy. Handle with caution.
Caution: Wear rubber or plastic gloves while handling them AND wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face.
Habaneros: from Chef Andrew Cohen
Ahh, habaneros...I have hurt myself many times with these! One of the ways I enjoy these is to take one or two and make cuts in them and then roll them in cheesecloth. I tie this up and drop it into a pot of black beans that I started with onions and garlic with some toasted cumin and coriander seed. This makes for spicy beans but saves you from worrying about little bits of incendiary devices in the beans. I have soaked habaneros in rice vinegar to produce a spicy condiment.
I did a sweet hot tropical salsa at my sushi bar as well, that was popular with those who liked bold flavors. This went on rolls with hamachi, avo, and cucumber. Chop a large can of pineapple rings or pieces into bite size bits. Save the juice. Fine dice a red onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Finely mince (pulverize!) a habanero. Skin and slice an inch and a half long piece of ginger into 1/8" coins. In a heavy-sided non-reactive saucepan, heat the juice, 2 cups of rice vinegar, 1 cup of brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Stir to disolve sugar, then add the above ingredients. You can add a pinch of cinnamon here if you wish. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a vigorous simmer. Cook until the liquid is reduced and is taking on a syrupy consistency. Set aside and allow to cool. Fine dice one or two ripe bell peppers- I liked red and yellow for color, but avoid green bells. They just don't taste right here. Dice a nice ripe mango or papaya (or two) and add in once the base is cool. The amount of mango or papaya is to your taste and is to also mitigate heat if necessary. I add in cilantro or mint depending on my mood and what I am going to use the salsa on. Of course, you don't have to use the habanero. I have used jalapenos and serranos in combination, and many other chiles as well, but I usually stick with the ones that have a bit of fruitiness to them.
Julia's note: Some restaurants in San Francisco has been buying our habaneros and making a liquor infusion with them. Vodka perhaps? I'm not sure.
How to make Dried Chile Flakes: A photo essay, click here.
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