Monday, May 21, 2012

"Our" Salsa Recipe

CAM's godmother, Marie, is from Guadalajara, Mexico.  She makes an amazing salsa.  Actually, she makes multiple kinds of salsa, all amazing, but her red version is the most popular.  (I'll post about the tomatillo salsa another day .... oh, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!)

This is our version of her red salsa, and we love it. I have long promised to post the recipe, and finally, I am doing it.  You're welcome.  :)

Salsa Recipe

First, get yourself a whole bunch of Roma or plum tomatoes, and a few Serrano peppers, and take your food processor or your favorite blender out and get it ready.

Oh, and a few cloves of garlic.  However many you like.  We like three or four, usually.

Throw your tomatoes and peppers on the grill, and get them nice and done.  (There is a special, very thin griddle pan you can use to do this inside, but ours died a tragic death from overuse.  But since it's summer, outside works just fine.  I'll get a photo of Marie's pan and show you another way to do this as soon as possible.  The pan has a special name, too, and for the life of me I can't remember it right now.)

Don't mind the awful grill.  Ours died and this is a loaner. We are NOT buying a new grill just to have to move it across the country!

As everything starts to cook, keep turning them. 

Warning -- we're using three Serranos here.  We like our salsa a little on the "warm" side.  If you don't like spice, back it down to one pepper, and/or add a few tomatoes.  

See this?  This is nothing.  You've got a long way to go, kids.
 This is what they look like when they are done.  They should be a little mushy, too.  This takes about 20 minutes, give or take.  The best thing is for the heat to be low and slow, so you don't char the peppers and tomatoes without getting any real cooking.

Another view, just because I love you.

Now you can cover them with saran wrap to steam off the skin, which we do sometimes, or you can throw 'em in the blender like this.  This time we were lazy, so into the blender they went...

As you can see, only three tomatoes went in so far. 
Don't forget to cut the stems off your peppers, but by all means, leave the seeds.  And of course your garlic is already in there.  Add a pinch of kosher salt. 


(Oh, forgot to say:  If you haven't yet, add the other tomatoes.  Sometimes we try it and add tomatoes to match the spice level, but this time we were pretty confident that with three peppers, the six tomatoes would be fine.  And we had some extra peppers on reserve, just in case we needed to add some spice back in.)  

In the shot above, Mick had already added the other tomatoes and there was still a nice kick because of the three peppers we used.

Now taste! 
OKay, sorry about the poor lighting.  I was still playing with camera features.  I keep fiddling all the time, trying to learn.
Final product!  You can add cilantro if you like, and obviously salt to taste.  We don't typically add lime juice, but it's another option. 

Serve with a plastic spoon, so you don't tinge the flavor with any reaction from any metal you use.  (Seriously.   If you didn't already know this, it's true.  Never serve tomatoes with metal, if you can help it.)

And that's it!  This salsa has a richer flavor than the Pioneer Woman recipe because of the grilling (and an even grillier flavor if you leave on the skins when you blend), but it's a little more work, too.  (Instead of just opening cans, you've got to grill.  But you don't have to chop.  So maybe it's all even!)

This recipe is more of an art than a science, because you have to salt to taste and balance your ratio of peppers to tomatoes to match both the strength of the peppers and your tolerance for kick.  But try it. If you like salsa, I'm pretty sure you'll love this.

And it's about as authentic as you can get! 


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