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Recipe: the perfectly burnt salsa 

Burning food on embers creates wonderful flavour – perfect for a delicious salsa

Burnt salsa recipe

It takes a bit of skill to do it, but burning food on embers creates wonderful flavour, says Martin Keane, the founder of Woodsmith. Take our perfectly burnt salsa, which involves cooking veg and citrus in the embers until they’re just so. After being skinned, chopped and squeezed, the ingredients are turned into a delicious salsa to dollop onto your favourite something grilled.

Ingredients: serves 8 
  • 8-10 logs (Applewood is best) 
  • 6 tomatoes 
  • 4 onions 
  • 4 peppers 
  • 6 chillies 
  • 1 bulb of garlic 
  • 2 limes 
  • Handful of chopped coriander 
  • 50ml olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
Method
  • Prepare your fire. Once you have a good bed of coals from the fire, you are ready to cook. All of the ingredients will be cooked directly in the embers so will remain whole and unpeeled until you have cooked them. You are essentially grilling and internally steaming all in one go, producing the most intense version of each vegetable.
  • You will need to maintain a fire to continue to feed the cooking area with embers. But you will probably be cooking this salsa to accompany something else, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Start with the ingredients that will take longer to cook. So first up are your onions, placed directly on a flat bed of coals, raking around some more to give them a good covering. Ten minutes in you may need to start turning them. You want to completely blacken the skins, but stop short of burning through to the onion itself.
  • Next up will follow the whole garlic bulb, then peppers, tomatoes, limes and chillies at five-minute intervals. Continue to turn the veg so no one side burns, and you maintain an overall even char. Once you arrive at the “perfectly burnt” stage, remove all of your veg and put it into a bowl covered with cling film, or an airtight container. You want the veg to steam and cool down.
  • Once they’re cool enough to handle, remove all of the skins and seeds from the vegetables and chop. We find it easiest to do this on a big board. Once all the veg is chopped up, add the coriander, squeeze in the limes and chop some more. Finally add the oil, salt and pepper and bring together.

Woodsmith stocks a variety of natural woods and charcoals for outdoor cooking, all grown in Somerset. See woodsmithwood.com for further details.

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