October 11, 2011

Tomato Tuesday: Salsa!

Back in my college years, my then roommates and I worked at a Mexican restaurant and they had the best salsa!
Since we were poor and the salsa was free, it was pretty much all we ate. 

The amount of salsa we consumed was quite alarming, really! What's even more alarming, is that I still crave it, it's that good.  I've made batch, after batch trying to recreate this smokey, smooth salsa and I finally did it.

Shopping list:
1. 6-8 fresh tomatoes. I used the last of the tomatoes from my garden, wow what a difference using fresh tomatoes makes!
2. 8-10 jalapenos
3. 4 garlic cloves
4. 1/4 of a cup of cilantro
5. Juice of one lime.
6. 2 T. of white vinegar
7. Liquid smoke, you can find this usually where you find BBQ sauce.
8. Salt and pepper to taste.
9. Canola or olive oil.

1. Turn your BBQ on medium-high.
2. Slice your tomatoes and jalapenos in half (long way), removing the stems. You should remove some of the seeds from the jalapeno to reduce the heat. I usually leave about 25% of the seeds.

3. Coat the tomatoes and jalapenos completely with canola oil. I use a basting brush to do so.
4. Place the tomatoes on the grill, cooking each side for 5 minutes. Once the skin starts to fall off, they are done. Keep rotating the tomatoes so the skin becomes charred.
5. Add the jalapenos to the grill once some of your tomatoes are done and you have room to squeeze them in. Once the bottom of the jalapenos are charred, flip them. Remove them once the underside is charred again. Unlike the tomatoes you don't need to cook them. You are simply charring them.
6. Once you are finished cooking your tomatoes and jalapenos, set them aside to cool.

7. Once cool, remove the skin from the tomatoes ( I leave a little on as I like the charred taste).
8. Add  just the tomatoes and jalapenos, no liquid, to a food processor and blend well. Try to remove any excess water that has floated to the top of your food processor.
9. Now, add the garlic, cilantro, fresh squeezed lime juice, and vinegar.
10. The salt, pepper and Liquid Smoke should be added in small increments. The liquid smoke will add a lot of smokey flavor, which you may not need if you charred your tomatoes well.
11. I store my salsa in mason jars, it should keep 1-2 weeks!

I've got my chips and salsa, now I just need a margarita!
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