I'm slightly embarrassed to say I had never heard of Rick Bayless or his Frontera Restaurant Group until I saw him helping Andrew Zimmern navigate the amazing world of Mexican street food in Chicago. It was fortuitous that after watching a re-run of this episode of "Bizarre Foods: America" that I ran into the Chipotle Pumpkin Salsa created by Bayless for sale at Central Market.
Before discussing the many merits of this salsa, let's consider first the label "medium" as a indicator of spice level. It's become clear to me that label is entirely subjective and pretty much meaningless; what is "medium" to me, an Irish-American lassie not raised on hot food is far different than what is "medium" to, say, a native Thai woman used to eating dragon peppers for breakfast.
So, when I say this salsa toasted my tongue (though not in a bad way), do not assume it actually has that many scoville units to its name. Do know, however, that whatever heat produced by the roasted tomatillos enhances, not masks, the other layers of flavor, which include a wonderful earthy taste of slightly over-ripened squash, onions, roasted garlic, and just a hint of sweet from some cane juice.