I’d never heard of salsa negra until I volunteered to help my friend, Chef Patricio Wise of Nixtaco Mexican Kitchen, cook at his restaurant’s New Year’s Eve party. This inky sauce, lurked in a squeeze bottle, to be used on a poblano soup.
“Don’t use too much,” Patricio said. “It’s very strong.”
I tasted it. Dark, nutty, loaded with chiles and garlic and sesame, this sauce lingered on my tastebuds. It wasn’t picante spicy, but it was exotic. Like a mole, almost. But somehow cleaner tasting.
What’s in it, I asked. “Secreto,” he said, only half joking.
Patricio ultimately did give me the recipe, in classic restaurant percentages that I had to adjust so you can make it a home. If you like Mexican food and want a flavor that’s out of the ordinary, I urge you to make this sauce.
It does, however, rely on one hard-to-find ingredient: black garlic. If you have a Trader Joe’s around, they sell it, and you can also buy black garlic online. What is it? Slow fermented garlic that is murky, garlicky and slightly sweet. It lasts forever in the pantry. You need it for this recipe.
Patricio says his salsa negra is good on anything, and I believe him. I first put it on some slow cooked goose legs that I served with cilantro rice and toasted pumpkin seeds. As expected, it was amazing. Since a little of the sauce goes a long way, and because it lasts a long time in the fridge — several weeks — I’ll be experimenting with it on other foods.
When you do the same, let me know in the comments what you find this salsa negra best on!
This recipe can be scaled up, but remember a little goes a long way. I urge you to make it as written at least once before you tinker with ingredients. This sauce is truly something special.
- 3/4 cup sunflower, canola or vegetable oil, 175 grams
- 2 teaspoons lime juice (about 1 key lime)
- 1 teaspoon smoked salt, 3 grams
- 1 tablespoon dry roasted peanuts, 5 grams
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted, 4 grams
- 1 pasilla or guajillo chile, stemmed and seeded and torn up
- 1 ancho chile, stemmed and seeded and torn up
- 1 tablespoon cumin 4 grams
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder, or 1 chipotle in adobo (2 grams powder)
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted, 13 grams
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1.5 grams
- 3 cloves black garlic
Puree all the ingredients on high in a blender until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge indefinitely.