8 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced

1 ¾ cups water

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Kosher salt

 

Heat a medium, heavy sauté pan or griddle over medium heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 2 of the chiles and toast, pressing down on them firmly with a spatula, for 10 to 15 seconds, or until golden brown. Turn the chiles and continue to toast, pressing down on them firmly with the spatula, another 10 to 15 seconds, or until fragrant, golden brown, and pliable. Remove the toasted chiles to a bowl and toast the remaining chiles in the same manner.

 

Combine the chiles, garlic, water, and lime juice in a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt.

 

Makes about 2 ¼ cups. Heat level: medium. This salsa is good on everything from chips to meat to seafood. It’s especially fantastic with cheesy dishes. Guajillos are a type of dried chile distinguishable by their red color, elongated shape, and smooth skin. Wear gloves when handling chiles. To stem and seed a dried chile, simply pop off the stem and shake out as many of the seeds as possible from the stem end. Toast the chiles carefully so that they don’t burn. Like most salsas, this one’s best the day after it’s made, once the flavors have had time to mingle. Keeps for several days tightly sealed in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.