Tomatoes everywhere! Every farm stand, grocery store and farmer’s market is bursting with fresh, ripe, luscious tomatoes. Maybe you grow your own! If you are scouring cookbooks and the “Internets” to use these beauties, this is easy and fun.
I found this in the August issue of Bon Appetit and although it took me three tries to get salsa the way I like it, that was the fun! Making salsa at home provides free range for individual creativity and preferences.
For the first batch, I followed the recipe to the letter. The result was very “soupy” and so hot I actually couldn’t eat it.
Next, to reduce the heat factor, I made some adjustments, (which certainly can be reversed if you prefer hotter salsa):
- Jalapeno peppers replaced serrano peppers
- Seeds were removed from the cooked peppers before adding to salsa
- Two, not three cooked jalapenos, chopped, were added to the salsa, reserving the third until after taste-testing (I ultimately did not use the third pepper)
- The white onion was replaced with a mellower yellow onion
The process for this is pretty simple. Vegetable prep consists of coring the tomatoes and cutting them in half, and cutting the onion into slices.
Tomatoes, onions, whole peppers and unpeeled garlic cloves are placed on a foil-lined pan and roasted. The roasting takes less than 20 minutes, but it is somewhat hands-on.
Here is how the original instructions read: “Broil, turning onion and chilis once, until lightly charred, about 6 minutes for chilis and garlic and 15-18 minutes for tomatoes and onion.” I had to read that a few times before I was sure I had it. Here’s how I broke it down:
- Start broiler
- Put pan containing vegetables in oven, set timer to 3 minutes
- Turn chilis, set timer to 3 more minutes
- Remove chilis and garlic, turn onions, set timer to 10 minutes
- Remove pan and turn off broiler
The result is roasted vegetables with some charred skins/surfaces.
One of my first instincts was to discard those blackened tomato skins, but leaving them in only adds to the flavor!
Half of the tomatoes go in a food processor or blender along with the peeled garlic cloves. If a food processor is used, the other half of the tomatoes is added and then “pulse” the processor a few times to chop them roughly. I do not have a full-sized food processor, so I first tried this with my blender and ended up with tomato puree with a salsa taste. Not what I was trying for.
So instead, I now chop the second half of tomatoes and add them to the blended mix. To make thicker salsa, before chopping I place those tomatoes in a colander and give them a good squeeze to press out some of their juice. Then chop them up, along with the onion and chilis.
Everything is mixed together in a bowl and seasoned with salt.
If the mixture is still warm, allow to cool before adding the final ingredients: lime juice and cilantro.
The result? Delicious salsa that can be customized to each family’s taste and “hot-o-meter.”
Give this a try, it’s really fun to make!
- 2 lb. tomatoes about 4 medium, cored and cut in half crosswise
- 1 medium yellow onion use white onion for hotter salsa
- 2-3 jalapeno peppers use serrano peppers for hotter salsa
- 3 garlic cloves unpeeled
- Salt to taste
- 2 TB lime juice from approx. ½ a lime
- 2 TB finely chopped cilantro
- Heat broiler. Place tomatoes, cut side down, on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet.
- Fit onions, chilis and garlic around the tomatoes so that everything is snug but not overlapping.
- Place pan in broiler. In 3 minutes turn the chilis. In 3 more minutes remove the chilis and garlic and turn the onions. Broil for an additional 10 minutes before removing from oven.
- Peel the garlic and place in a blender with half of the roasted tomatoes. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- Place the remaining tomatoes in a colander over the sink and squeeze gently to remove excess liquid. Allow to drain for a few minutes, then chop the tomatoes and add to the bowl of puree.
- Finely chop the peppers (removing seeds and stem) and the onion. Mix into the puree and season with salt.
- Allow the salsa to cool.
- Stir in lime juice and cilantro.
Use it for your next Taco Dip!