After I got home from Wisconsin, I was really excited to get into the kitchen and play around with my flavor trends. (You can read about my partnership with Sargento and my Flavor Correspondent assignment in my first post.) I have to be honest, I was a little afraid of habaneros before this trip. I have had them before and they were so hot that were unpalatable. I have since discovered that they actually have a floral and almost citrus-like flavor.
Habanero peppers are very hot – but when paired with sweet, tropical fruit, they have the perfect amount of heat. This salsa is a great way to try a habanero if you are interested in exploring peppers with more intense heat. You can cut down the intensity by removing the seeds and veins. You can also pair the peppers with dairy such as cheese or cream to also help make them easier to eat. A simple cheese nacho is a perfect vehicle for my habanero salsa.
Here is how I work with a habanero pepper. First off, wear gloves. You will thank me later. If you do not wear gloves, please be careful not to rub your eyes. Wash your hands really well. I cut the pepper in half and scraped out the seeds and the veins of the pepper. That is where all of the intense heat is hiding. If you want really hot, by all means, leave them in. I then cut them into a very fine dice. This makes the pepper flavorful, and not just full of heat.1 cup papaya, chopped
1/2 cup mango, chopped
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon habanero pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
Sargento Artisan Authentic Mexican
Add the tropical fruit, red onion, cilantro, and habanero to a bowl. Add honey.
Add olive oil and lime juice.
Season with salt. Cover and chill for one hour.
Make the nachos by lining a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil. I use quarter sheet pans that I got at a restaurant supply store. I like to serve burgers and sandwiches on these too. Perfect for nachos and makes for a cute presentation. Spread a layer of chips on the tray and cover with cheese.
Add another layer of chips and cheese.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
Top with tropical fruit salsa. I like to serve with extra salsa on the side. If you have leftover salsa, it would be perfect with grilled shrimp or in a fish taco.
**This post is a part of my ongoing collaboration with Sargento Cheese. All opinions are 100% my own.**