Ancho Chile Pickled Salsa 2.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Aug 5, 2009

This marinated salsa is chocolaty, sweet, deep, mildly spicy and incredibly interesting. Versions of it are common in northern states of Mexico. Feel free to adjust the sugar to your taste.

It is perfect as a companion to grilled meats or chicken, or as a spread on sandwiches, panini and crostini. For a beautiful and original appetizer, pair it with hard-textured but mildly flavored cheeses such as Mexican panela, queso fresco, sliced mozzarella or Oaxaca.

Make Ahead: The chile peppers need to macerate for at least 8 hours. The assembled salsa can be refrigerated for months.

Servings: 2 cups
  • 3 ounces dried ancho chile peppers, preferably Orale brand
  • 1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup safflower or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher, coarse or sea salt, or more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar, or more to taste


Make a slit in each dried ancho chile pepper, then remove and discard the stems, seeds and veins. Rinse the remaining peppers lightly with cold water. Use kitchen scissors to cut the peppers crosswise into thin strips and place them in a mixing bowl.

Add the onion, garlic, vinegars, oil, salt and sugar; toss to mix well. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to several months. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a Diana Kennedy recipe by Patricia Jinich, chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute. Her Web site is

Tested by Kathleen Hom.

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