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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

              2. http://karakullake.blogspot.com/2009/...

                Not sure about the missing onions and citrus acid... But looks legit

                1. Got very close. Used vine-ripened beefsteak tomatoes. By that I mean deepest red possible, but still firm and no wrinkled skid. I diced these on a cutting board and let the juices flow into the sink, knowing that the salt I would be adding would leach more juices out later. Placed the tomatoes in a large stainless steel bowl. Added minced garlic, chopped green onions, and chopped cilantro. Added sea salt to taste, followed by citric acid also to taste. At this point I had three quarts. Decided to make a medium, hot, and evil. I very finely minced two (2) Trinidad Moruga "Scorpion" peppers. My wife could tolerate the "medium," which she loved, but said the "hot" was very hot, and one taste of the "evil" sent her running for the sugar jar! I thought the stuff turned out to be VERY close to the Casa Sanchez stuff. Next time around I will see if I can record the quantity of each component.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CordonBleu

                    I actually tried to follow the video the other evening and think we came close. I quartered 3 fresh beefsteak tomatoes from our garden and tossed them into the food processor with two cloves of garlic, a handful of cilantro (stems and all), a jalapeno, a Serrano, some kosher flake salt, 1/4 cup of water, and a small can of tomato paste. Added another jalapeno after we didn't detect too much heat. I liked it. The heat snuck up on us, which is the way I like it - I don't want to get hit over the head. The salsa coated the chip nicely. I think I'll try again but with less tomato paste. Might add some onion but didn't see any in the video. No photo.