Few people have ever heard of the Mascarenes, and these islands are more
known by their individual names: Réunion, Mauritius, and Ródrigues. They
are a departement of France and lie hundred of miles east of Madagascar,
hundreds of miles away from each other, and although they vary greatly
in geography, culture, and religion, they have one great thing in
common: a love of chile peppers. On all three islands, chiles of every
size and heat level are lovingly grown and added to a cuisines that can
generically be called Creole. Rebecca Chastenet de Gry, one of my
writers, collected this recipe for me on Réunion Island. She wrote:
"Alter the heat in this extremely hot salsa by changing the chiles used.
Traditionally the smaller piquin or bird's eye chiles are the types
preferred, but milder ones, such as red serranos, can be used." Serve
it--easy does it--over clams, other shellfish, or grilled fish fillets.
1/2 cup small fresh hot red chiles, such as piquin, stems and seeds removed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons sliced ginger
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons white vinegar
Place the chiles, salt, garlic, and cilantro in a blender and process
slightly and still chunky.
Combine the remaining ingredients, and the chile and mix well. Allow the
salsa to sit for a couple of hours to blend the flavors.