Salsa

Since I have a bumper crop of tomatoes coming in, I thought I’d do something with some of them. Today I made some salsa.


Here’s the annotated and illustrated recipe I followed (from Epicurious.com: The original recipe):

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 10 medium), preferably plum
2 to 3 fresh jalapeño chiles (1 to 1 1/2 ounces), stemmed All I have for jalapeños is a jar of pickled jalapeño rings
2 bell peppers (I used green and yellow this time)
Half of a small white onion (2 ounces), sliced 1/4 inch thick This time I used a red onion
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup water It’s plenty watery already, thanks
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed I found that all the cilantro did was make it taste soapy
1 generous teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar I find it doesn’t need the vinegar

  1. Heat the broiler. Lay the whole tomatoes and jalapeños out on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Set the pan 4 inches below the broiler and broil for about 6 minutes, until darkly roasted — even blackened in spots — on one side (the tomato skins will split and curll in places). With a pair of tongs, flip over the tomatoes and chiles and roast the other side for another 6 minutes or so. The goal is not simply to char the tomatoes and chiles, but to cook them through while developing nice, roasty flavors. Set aside to cool.
    Since I’m using pickled jalapeño rings, I just add them in the last minute of broiling.
    Roasted tomatoes and peppers
  2. Turn the oven down to 425 degrees. Separate the onions into rings. On a similar pan or baking sheet, combine the onion and garlic. Roast in the oven, stirring carefully every couple of minutes, until the onions are beautifully browned and wilted (even have a touch of char on some of the edges) and the garlic is soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes total. Cool to room temperature.
    Again, since the garlic is pre-chopped, not cloves, I added it in the last couple minutes.
    Onions and garlic
  3. For a little less rustic texture or if you’re canning the salsa, pull off the peels from the cooled tomatoes and cut out the “cores” where the stems were attached, working over your baking sheet so as not to waste any juices. In a food processor, pulse the jalapeños (no need to peel or seed them) with the onion and garlic until moderately finely chopped, scraping everything down with a spatula as needed to keep it all moving around.

    Puréeing the peppers and onions

    Scoop into a big bowl. Without washing the processor, coarsely puree the tomatoes — with all that juice that has accumulated around them — and add them to the bowl.

    Puréeing the tomatoes

    Stir in enough water to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency. Stir in the cilantro.

    All mixed together

  4. Taste and season with salt and vinegar, remembering that this condiment should be a little fiesty in its seasoning. If you’re planning to use your salsa right away, simply pour it into a bowl and it’s ready, or refrigerate it covered and use within 5 days.

    The First Taste