Sweet and Spicy Green Pepper Salsa

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Almost everyday somebody asks me if I like living in Ecuador.  My answer is always, “of course!”  Inevitably the next question is, “what do you like most about living here?”  One of my top reasons for feeling so fortunate to live here and for never wanting to leave is the food!

One of the HUGE advantages of living in Ecuador is the awesome availability of so much fresh and affordable produce.  And when I say fresh I mean, sometimes I find snails or other even less appealing creepy crawlies in my lettuce, fresh.  Ok, breathe, it’s just a slug, it won’t bite me and guess what?  It means this stuff is SUPER organic.  It’s fresh picked and trucked into town that morning and packs a nutritional and not to mention tasty tasty punch.  So, you’re at your local organic market and you cannot help but pick up of one of these and some of that and oooooh I think I’ll take one of those too!  And before you know it your shopping bag is over-flowing to the point where you’re losing feeling in your arm lugging it home and the best part?  You probably spent about 5 bucks!  The thrill of shopping locally, organically and affordably will never ever wear off for me…no matter how long I live here!

Most of the local produce, especially veggies, are easily identifiable but every once in a while something sneaks into your shopping bag that is new to you.  For instance, this recipe features a hot green pepper called rocoto verde which is very common in the markets and supermarkets of Cuenca.  Have you seen it around but were usure how to use it?  Something to remember is that it’s spiciness should not be underestimated .  I prefer to work with gloves when chopping and deseeding this powerful little pepper and adding it slowly to my dish in order to control the heat.  Once you have the level of spiciness where you want it this Sweet and Spicy Green Pepper Salsa is ready to drizzle on just about anything you can think of!  Think tacos, fried eggs roasted potatoes or white pizza!  If rocoto verde is not available in your area you can substitute it for jalapeno.

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2 green onions including about half of the green part (cebollín)
2 green peppers (pimiento verde)
1 rocoto verde (or jalapeno)
1 cup cilantro (culantro)
1 cup parsley (perejil)
2-3 cloves of garlic (ajo)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (sal marina)
1 tablespoon olive oil (aceite de oliva)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Rough chop all vegetables except for rocoto verde.  Add chopped veggies, sea salt, olive oil and apple cider vinegar to a blender.  Pulverize these ingredients.  Carefully, with gloves and without touching your face or eyes, deseed, devein and cut the rocoto verde into 8 chunks. Add, 1 small chunk at a time, pieces of the rocoto verde to the blender.  Blend and taste after adding each chunk.   Bring the salsa up to your desired level of yummy spiciness. 

Recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Store salsa in the refigerator until ready to use.  Will keep in a covered container for up to one week.


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