Dave’s Salsa fresca...
Salsas are personal sauces used for everything from a dip for chips to seasoning guacamole, to spicing up grilled shrimp. My salsa recipe seems to have evolved from a simple tomatoes and jalapeño mix to what was (at least when I made it last time) a more complicated sauce.
I like to use tomatillos as well as red tomatoes as a base. This is a personal preference. The tomatillos bring a certain “zing” which takes away from the sweetness of the tomatoes. Well here’s how I did it last time. I’ll mention certain techniques which seem to help speed the process up and keep the number of dishes to a minimum. Now that I’m writing this down, I may have to do it the same way twice, just to see if this is truly a recipe, or not. Enjoy.
Equipment I use...
A large (12” diameter, 5” deep) bowl
A medium colander which will fit down inside the bowl
I say medium because it’s not a coarse colander like you’d use for draining pasta, and it’s not a fine one like you’d use for sifting flour or other dry ingredients. It all depends on how “chunky” you want the finished product to be. The colander is used for draining the juices that come out of the tomatoes. If you want a really liquid salsa, skip the colander, it’s just something I like to use. The large bowl allows the salsa to spread out and drain efficiently.
A “cuisinart” food processor fitted with a metal blade.
I suppose you could use a blender, but it might be more difficult, since you’d have to scrape it down much more often during the process.
Four or five medium sized ripe red tomatoes, whatever looks best in the market. Actually, I have been using canned “diced” tomatoes lately and they seem to work just fine when there are few “real” tomatoes available.
About six or seven small (about the size of a lime) tomatillos.
Look for very firm, almost hard tomatillos. Make sure the “parchment like” outer covering has not deteriorated too much. The covering should be split in several places, allowing you to see the fruit inside. Watch out for soft spots on larger fruits. Check for undocumented residents. I have found that roasting these at 400 'til some color appears and then "deglazing with a little water to get the burt sugar, makes for an interesting addition.
You want about one-third tomatillos, two-thirds red tomatoes by volume.
One medium onion
Four cloves of garlic
One jalapeño pepper (seeds and pith removed for medium heat)
One-half of a bunch of cilantro leaves, not too many stems - not italian parsley!
Freshly ground black pepper (about a half teaspoon, or to taste)
Salt to taste (about a quarter teaspoon, probably more)
Dried Mexican oregano (about a quarter teaspoon, rubbed between hands), or some cumin - this according to taste, one or the other.
Quarter onions, tomatoes and tomatillos and process separately in cuisinart ‘til desired “chunkiness”. This will probably take several batches in the machine. Don’t crowd the ingredients. Process until the mixture looks like a really watery green/red oatmeal. As the ingredients are processed, put them in the colander to drain, if desired. In the last batch of the tomatoes to be processed, include the pepper, garlic and cilantro and process a little finer. Don’t put these into the colander. Pour the finished salsa into a bowl and add salt, pepper, lime juice, stir and let sit for a while, adjust salt.
As we approach California's most important , biggest money-making, most accepted nuevo holiday (if you read the newspaper advertisements), I'll post some more recipes. By next Tuesday, the cinco, you should have enough info for a complete California meal!
I hope you took the time to look at the YouTube video I posted yesterday. It is important. Please look at it and send it around to your friends.