Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fiery Grilled Peach and Habanero Salsa

We've been grilling a lot this summer, but one thing we haven't tackled is fruit. Bobby Flay grills fruit all the time, and although I trust him, grilled fruit just sounds kind of...weird.

I came across this recipe in the August 2009 issue of Cooking Light magazine and knew it was for us. Because it's, you know, spicy. Well, at least Cooking Light says it's spicy; most of the time when a magazine says something is spicy, it's really a barely-there, castrated kind of heat. Which is not the heat we like in the T house.

Fiery Grilled Peach and Habanero Salsa
from the August 2009 issue of Cooking Light Magazine

4 large peeled peaches, halved and pitted*
2 (1/4-inch-thick) slices red onion
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange rid
1 teaspoon finely chopped seeded habanero pepper** (I doubled the amount for us)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

Lightly coat peaches and onion with cooking spray. Place peaches and onion on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill peaches 2 minutes on each side. Cool and chop. Grill onion 3 minutes on each side. Cool and chop. Combine peaches, onion, cilantro and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; toss well. Let stand 15 minutes.

* The easiest way to peel a peach, I've found, is to plop them in a pot of boiling water for about 15 seconds. Remove them and cool for a few minutes. The skin should peel off easily with a paring knife.

**Habanero peppers, or Scotch Bonnets, are very, very potent. Use caution when chopping them and make sure you wash your hands before touching ANY part of your body. I know this from firsthand experience; my nose has never forgiven me for itching it once with "Habanero Hands."

I thought that this salsa screamed to be served over fish, so I grilled some gorgeous sea bass fillets.

The verdict (and a small RANT):

Those folks at Cooking Light lie like rugs! Even with the amount of habanero doubled, the salsa was tame. Now it could be that I got a puny habanero, but I smelled the sucker when I was chopping it, and it smelled spicy. I know CL is a mainstream magazine, but in my opinion, if you're gonna call a recipe "fiery"--it had better have some fire there! If a magazine uses "fiery" in the title, it's user beware, right? So people who make it shouldn't be crying like babies if the recipe is hot, because they were warned. Quit castrating my food, people!! Pony up or don't do it at all.


Sigh, rant over.

Once I added another pinch of chiles, we enjoyed the dish. The combination of flavors was delicious! The sea bass was rich and buttery, and the clean peach and chile flavors blanced that. It's a keeper.


  1. I'm with you, witchy. I want a recipe that says fiery to be too much for me. I want a note that says "use half this if you like things spicy not sweaty." Because I want a recipe to offer the maximum spicy that tastes good, and let the wimps adjust down.
    I am just such a wimp, but I want the writers to tell me what I couldn't handle.
    Good luck next time you triple the habanero. Those things scare me.

  2. How annoying. It reminds me when some relatives took us to a Mexican place in Indiana for some spicy food. (Yeah, we should have known better) The salsa had as much spice as ketchup.
    I'm glad you able to tweak it.

  3. I love grilled fruit and SUPER spicy food. I have habaneros growing on my deck, and they are brutal. So good!

  4. I'm with you...if it says me spicy!

  5. Right! Fire means fire, a-holes! Sheesh...that said...YUM!! Looks amazing :)

  6. I thought you didn't like sweet with savory or is that someone else? Sounds yum though - weird thing about scotch bonnets- sometimes they are lethal - I added one to a soup and wow! Then another time we used two in a soup and it was much of muchness... I know what you mean about the hands too - I touched my mouth, eyes, nose...oh god it was awful... I always forget too when i'm handling them and then I'm like uh

  7. No, CC, you are right... that IS me who doesn't like sweet/savory. I put salt on my salsa and it was okay :)

  8. Grilled fruit in the summer? Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Sorry Baby, but you lost me on this one.
    I have rules when it comes to fruit.
    Rule #1 - fruit and bread do NOT go together. No banana sandwiches, no pineapple on burgers etc.
    Rule #2 - fruit is not to be cooked unless it is to be made into a sweet dish. Ever!
    I don't do sweet/savoury combos either. It does look beautiful though :-)

  10. I have scratched more than once after handling a hot pepper. You'd think I would have learned after the first time.

    This looks delish!

  11. Good to know about the fire part, because Hubs likes it so spicy that our fire alarms get nervous. I'm not kidding. He's not happy unless he's sweating. I don't get it.

  12. We are playing around with peach salsa this weekend too! I've never worked with habaneros at home and am glad to know that they aren't as insanely hot as I first thought. Now I'll taste test a bit more to get the right heat level.

  13. Crying like babies? Tee hee!

    I think Monkey would like your desired spice level. Every now and then, I give in and let him have the "Flaming Hot Cheetos" and he'll eat a few of them, talk about how spicy they are as he sweats visibly, then put the bag away. Next day: "Can I have some more flaming hot Cheetos?" And so on, until he finishes. Ok, so it's not a foodie story (and gasp! it involves junk food) but I'm always impressed with his dedication to the spicy.

  14. Ink, despair not--my children eat Flaming Hot Cheetos, also. In fact, so do I. Shameful!

  15. Sounds delicious. But I will have to hide the peaches in a top-secret locale if I want to make it. I live amongst the peach obsessed. If there is one in the house, all three children will sniff it out and fight over it until they are bloody.
    Perhaps the habaneros will change their behavior?