I have to confess that I am a chips and salsa JUNKIE! I could eat it everyday , three times a day, for the rest of my life and still not get enough of it. It’s quite possible that I may need an intervention.
I always thought that I made pretty good homemade fresh salsa. It was always the pico style. Finely chopped tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, garlic and cilantro with the perfect touch of lime juice and salt. We always liked it.
My friends I was SOOOOO wrong!!!!
Several months ago, a co-worker, who has since become a dear friend, Jennifer, started sharing her Hispanic family’s food secrets. You can bet your tail end that my ears perked up and I started taking notes of EVERY thing she told me!! I asked question after question after question. She gave me answers after answers after answers. …and then…. I asked her if I could share some of her secrets with all of you and she said YES!!!!! I was SO excited!!!!
One of the first things she educated me on was the proper way to make salsa. My jaw dropped a little bit and I was completely intrigued. I’ll admit that I was TOTALLY skeptical of the technique and the absence of one of the ingredients that I SWORE was key to good salsa.
Are you guys ready to learn? It’s does take just a tad bit more time than our American way of making pico, but no more effort. I know that sounds strange. You will want to make sure that you have either a STAINLESS STEEL skillet or cast iron skillet (DO NOT USE A TEFLON COATED PAN) and a food processor or blender.
These will be the only ingredients you need. Five or six medium to large tomatoes, jalapenos (We like it hot so I use three. Use however many will suit the heat level you prefer. Please consider that you will NOT be seeding the peppers.), 3 large cloves garlic, 2 limes, one bunch of cilantro and salt.
Heat your STAINLESS STEEL/CAST IRON skillet over medium to medium high heat. You want the pan to be dry. Do not spray with any sort of cooking spray or oil. When the skillet is really hot put the tomatoes, garlic and peppers in. Folks, we are BLACKENING our veggies!!!! You heard me. We’re going to char these puppies. Don’t get nervous when the food starts dancing and talking to you. That’s when you know everything is getting REALLY happy in that pan.
This is what’s going to happen. This is EXACTLY what you want to happen. You want as much blackening on the tomatoes as possible. This is where your CRAZY, INSANE, GOOD flavor is going to come from. The garlic will blacken before anything else. Simply remove it and go ahead and put it in the food processor/blender while everything else finishes up. Move the tomatoes around. Lean them against each other to get some char on as much of their surface as possible. Flip the peppers over to char all sides of them as well.
This what you’re aiming for. After you get as much blackening as possible remove them from the pan onto a cutting board to cool until you can handle them. Cut the stem end of the peppers off and cut into a few smaller chunks and put into the food processor/blender. Cut the tomatoes in half (DO NOT REMOVE THE SKINS), remove the core and gently squeeze some of the excess water from the tomato. This helps to keep your salsa on the slightly thicker side. After you’ve “juiced” the tomatoes a bit, place them in the food processor as well. Make sure not to lose any of the black bits on the skin. Add the cilantro, juice of 2 limes and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the mix. Process everything until well blended and all the big chunks are gone.
….and VOILA!!! There you have it. Your salsa is DONE!
Do you know what I DIDN’T put in the salsa?
There is NO onion anywhere near this salsa. There will NEVER again be an onion anywhere near my salsa. It doesn’t need it. We even tried adding it once when we botched a batch by accident (by trying to blacken them on the grill… doesn’t work) and thought we could fix it. NOPE! It STUNK with the onion flavor. One of the things I learned was that when blending salsa with onion, its the onion that makes it frothy. …and the onion will go bad quickly giving it the rancid taste after only a few days in the fridge.
If you can keep from eating it all for that long.
I know you’re just as intrigued by this as I was. You think I’m nuts for wanting to “burn” my tomatoes, but you’re going to try it. Aren’t you? (wink! wink!)
I’m telling you, my friend, Jennifer, is AMAZING! I have several more of her secrets to share with you somewhere down the line.
Peace, love and char!!!!