Monday, October 26, 2009

Recipe #10: Salsa

Before I delve into this recipe... I'm sorry it has taken me so long to update. I am so completely focused on winning another contest right now that it's taken up so much of my time! But no worries, it'll be over this week. If you'd like to vote for me, you can do so right here. Otherwise, read on!

I can't take credit for this entire recipe -- the basis of it came from a friend's mom who could make the best salsa and pico de gallo I have ever had. I have changed it up a little though, and hopefully she'd still be happy with it. I can't tell you how many times I enjoyed this salsa (which I think is best served warm) with tacos, burritos or even just chips. It's so flavorful, and so worth the time it takes waiting for the veggies to be ready. For me, "salsa" you can buy in a jar just isn't real. I live in San Diego for a few years, and learned to really appreciate salsa (or hot sauce, since that's what most there call it), and other than this one, I've yet to find anything on the east coast that can come close! Please note -- wherever you see a (*) next to an ingredient or tool, there is a comment about it below the recipe. Enjoy!


Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes


5 Roma or Plum tomatoes
1/2 jalapeno pepper*
3 cloves garlic*
1 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
handful cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion (about half a small onion)
3 tablespoons salt

food processor
large pot

Remove cores of tomatoes. Though it won't affect the taste, removing them now saves you from removing them later and a) burning yourself, and b) ending up with a chunk of tomato core in your salsa.

Bring two quarts of water and 3 tablespoons salt to a boil, add tomatoes and jalapeno pepper. Cook until skin is falling off tomatoes, or split and visibly pulling away from the flesh.

Remove tomatoes and pepper from water, and set aside. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.

When cool enough to handle, remove skin from tomatoes. The skin should fall/peel off easily. Keep tomatoes as intact as possible, but discard skins.

Place tomatoes and juice rendered while peeling in food processor, along with garlic, onion salt and garlic powder. Puree.

Reserve tomatoes, and place jalapeno pepper in food processor, process til pureed. Add 1/4 pepper puree to tomatoes, and taste. Add more to increase heat. When desired heat is reached, add chopped onion and cilantro.

Serve warm, garnish with cilantro.

-Jalapeno: If you can't find fresh jalapenos, it's okay to substitute long, serrano, or Hungarian wax peppers. Just use the same method of a) pureeing the pepper separately from the tomato, and b) adding the puree little by little. It's easy to increase the spice -- it's nearly impossible to take it away.

-Garlic: I don't usually use fresh garlic when I cook, unless it's going to be almost raw in the dish. What I use instead is a huge jar of Spice World minced garlic. It saves me the time of having to chop (and have my hands smell like) garlic for any given recipe. For this recipe, if you use the jarred garlic, use two tablespoons.

-Onion/cilantro: When I make this salsa, I purposely do not add the onion or cilantro into the food processor. For one, I like pieces of onion, whole. That said, I do chop it VERY finely before adding it. As far as the cilantro goes... you can add less, if it's not a flavor you love. To me, it is authentic Mexican, but to others, it tastes like soap. Be sure NOT to chop it ahead of adding it. Aside from looking prettier, cilantro has a tendency to become somewhat gummy when you chop it finely. You're better off tearing and adding whole leaves that will flavor the salsa, but are big enough for you to avoid if you don't like the flavor engulfing your entire bite.



Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

I love salsa...but gotta core the tomatoes??

Madame Menu said...

Well, you don't *have* to. But when I say "core," I don't mean remove the whole core. I just mean cut out that gross little spot where the stem was attached, and when you do, it ends up shaped like a little cone. They make for very tiny elf hats, if you're interested.

Kim -today's creative blog said...

that looks pretty yummy! And easy too.

Velva said...

Oh my! I can see why you think this is a great salsa recipe. Looks and no doubt tastes fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

AudreyO said...

I'm loving all of your photos. My food photos just never seem to look appetizing LOL.