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Apr 25, 2007 08:04 PM

Deconstructing Casa Sanchez Salsa

I LOVE Casa Sanchez Salsa.

I DON'T love paying $5 for a container of it.

I LOVE making my own salsa.

Has anyone else tried to deconstruct Casa Sanchez salsa to get that same great flavor? I spent some time last summer, and I just can't get it right. However, Towards the end of the tomato season I learned a few things that I'm going to pick up on again this summer...

1) Lemon instead of lime gets me a lot closer

2) Salt is good

3) Canned Tomatoes give a richer deep tomato flavor, which gets me closer.

Beyond that, I'm a bit stumped. I THINK that red onions get me a little closer, but I'm not sure. Roasted or raw garlic? What kind of peppers? quantities of all of the above?

Has anyone else tried to figure this out? Better yet, has anyone worked there and holds the secret recipe?? :)

Edit: If this should be in the "Home Cooking" section feel free to move it, but I figured casa sanchez is a pretty local brand, so this would be the best forum.

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  1. What does it say on the ingredients?

    Does Casa Sanchez have oil in it? A small amount of oil really brings the ingredients together and enhances the flavors. For Mexican-style salsas, I always use corn oil.

    One thing I've learned about salsa is not to use super-ripe, peak-season tomatoes -- too sweet, and the salsa ends up tasting ketchupy.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      No oil --

      The ingredients list is:

      "Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions, Cilantro, Garlic, Citric Acid & Sea Salt"

      Nutrition info shows 10 calories, 160 sodium, 4% Vitamin A, and 2% Vitamin C in two Tablespoons.

      As to which salsa, I'm talking either their mild, medium or hot salsa. The regular red stuff. The ingredients list is identical I believe between mild, medium and hot.

      1. re: mucknet

        I think I've seen citric acid at Rainbow Grocery.

        1. re: mucknet

          They could be using a combination of peppers -- some mild peppers to give flavor and some hot peppers to add heat. You might want to experiment with different peppers and combinations of peppers. There's also probably more cilantro than you think. Or at least, my salsa tastes better the more cilantro is in it! Interesting that they aren't using any lemon/lime juice at all -- they're using citric acid instead. That probably adds the flavor without adding extra liquid, making it a little more concentrated.

          I'd still try adding a small amount (like a teaspoon per pound of tomatoes) of corn oil.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I didn't realize that "citric acid" meant something other than lime or lemon juice... But it makes sense now that I've googled it :) Thanks for pointing that out.

          What kinds of peppers have people had good luck with for salsa? Their salsa tastes sweet to me. I've tried various combinations of: jalepenos, seranos, habaneros, and arbol (fresh and dried).

          1. re: mucknet

            What about trying an anaheim to add the sweet peppery flavor without all that heat?


        2. I don't have any recipe ideas but I also love Casa Sanchez salsa -- especially the hot. It is very addictive. My pre-travel routine (when I'm going somewhere with spicy food) is to eat hot Casa Sanchez every day until it doesn't taste hot anymore.

          I wonder if age is part of it? I imagine it must sit around for a while before it is stocked at the store. Plus it has a pretty long shelf life.

          1 Reply
          1. re: favabean

            I found this video showing them making their salsa in the factory:

            Looks like they use canned whole tomatoes and tomato paste; and also looks like both anaheim and serrano peppers go into it. I didn't see them throw in the citric acid, maybe it's naturally in the canned tomato products?

          2. it probably is citric acid that's important. citric acid is often what separates great hummus from the rest.

            2 Replies
              1. re: wolfe

                i have since learned the error of my ways..

            1. They are pretty cool there, I bet if you go there a few times, tip and be friendly they would probably give you some good direction. The best part is you can eat all the salsa you can stomach.

              1 Reply
              1. re: trespinero

                We love Casa Sanchez salsa (NOT the restaurant) and always bring home several containers to WA State when we visit my in-laws in Hollister.

                Having said that, imaging my surprise when I was at the local Cash 'n Carry and spotted a gigantic container of the medium salsa in the deli area (they also had pico de gallo but we make our own). So I brought some home ($8) and knew my husband would say "Why didn't you get the hot stuff?" - which he did - but we've managed to put a dent in its 64 ounces.

                Haven't written much since we moved here but we finally have a decent assortment of taco trucks, owners of which in turn open restaurants that are no match to the truck food. Haven't been back to Napa in almost 5 years. Miss Buckhorn tri-tip among other things.

                Casa Sanchez Restaurant
                2778 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110