To all those marvelous men & women who have been so good to share your ideas for food with myself and the rest of the culinary world, I proudly salute you. The feedback I received regarding something as simple as "Tuna Salad Sandwiches" was incredible! I now have another mission (should you chose to accept) which is to find the best recipe for salsa. All flavors are welcome, and nothing is out of bounds. Hot or mild, and everything in between. I look forward to hearing from you all.
CM Robbins II
I recommend doing it in the blender (or food proc). Since I converted to the blender school, it's so easy I make it every week. Dicing and chopping is fun every once in a while for more of a pico de gallo, but I'd never make salsa as often as I do now.
My recipe is about the same as Gordeaux or Diva, but sometimes if it comes out more brown or orange than red, I'll throw in a little (8 oz?) can of tomato sauce for cosmetic effect. I agree with Gordeaux that playing around with the variables is the best part, and yesterday I made persimmon salsa and it's really good with queso fresco and blue corn chips, can't wait to get home and dig in:)
Ok, I'll contribute my version though it's not all that revolutionary, it is delicious.
Simply dice up a 1/2 dozen roma tomatos, 1/2 a fresh green pepper, 1/2 a fresh red pepper, 2 jalapenos, one sweet onion, a couple of scallions, and then add the "secret ingredients": 4-5 ripe fresh diced tomatillos, and about a cup of chopped fresh cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste.
One variation that gets good feedback, is to add some Pace Picante sauce ( the original, NOT the chunky.)
Salsa is a relative term, what kind of salsa are you looking for. It simply means "sauce" in Spanish. The recipes you been given above are for variations of salsa cruda. If you don't want to buy it, take a pad of paper and a pencil and go to either a bookstore or library and find the Rick Bayless cookbook - Salsa's That Cook. There are 8 basic salsa recipes in it along with suggestions for varying the chiles. Plus you get 3 different yield sizes to boot so that you can make the quantity of salsa you want or need.
If is is, indeed, a salsa cruda that you're after, try this:
1lb Roma Tomatoes (though globe toms will work too), skinned, seeded and then diced small
2 Tbl. finely minced white onion
1-2 Chile serranos, stemmed, seeded if you wish, and finely minced
1 small garlic clove smashed and minced
1 Tbl. minced cilantro
1 Tbl. Cold water
Salt to taste
A couple of grinds of fresh cracked pepper (optional)
The chopping and dicing is the worst of it, but takes less than 10 minutes if you've got some knife skills. Toss it all together, let stand about 10 minutes and then eat. Does not keep well, but it doesn't last very long either if people are around. The objective with any Mexican sauce is that it be balanced with no one flavor predominating but rather all the flavors of the ingredients blending together to create one great taste/flavor.
For less heat take all the seeds and veins out of your chiles. For more heat leave them in. while salsas from fresh chiles are good, salsas from dried chiles are even better :-)
Here's a pantry salsa I've been making for years. I think it tastes good, can be made ahead, and keeps for at least a week.
1 15 oz can whole tomatoes (do not drain)
1/2 small onion
1 can green chilis
6 - 10 jalapeno pepper rings (how hot do you like it?)
1/2 teaspoon gr cumin
1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano
juice of 1 lime, or 3 tblspoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
In a food processor, chop the onion and jalapenos until very fine. Add green chilis, cumin and oregano, and let it spin around a couple of times. Dump in the canned tomatoes, with their juice, the lime juice or vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Process until well chopped and combined. Let rest in the fridge for several hours before serving, or overnight.
fresh is the key to great salsa. canned tomatoes are good but drain them well. please dont ever use " mexican seasoning". fresh garlic,onions, seranno peppers tossed in a little oil and charred on a grill or in the broiler. blend with lime juice and fresh cilantro. a little salt to taste. my favorite is verde, using tomatillos instead of tomatoes. also try using dry peppers instead of fresh, like pasilla, or guajillo. making your own chips takes any salsa to the next level.
>>please dont ever use " mexican seasoning".<<
I could not agree more with you on this. Things like chili powder (note, NOT ChilE powder) are just simply gross. They all taste dirty, and muddy. No purpose for using. Combine your own spices, it really is just as easy to shake three tins as it is to shake one. PLUS, those things are usually mostly salt, and leftover cumin from the 1950's anyway.
I switch mine up all of the time. I'll warn you, I don't measure anything ever, so everything is approximate. Here's the basic recipe:
6 roma tomatoes
1 half red or white onion
1 tblspn vinegar
1 tblspn olive oil
1 tsp mexican seasoning (or taco seasoning or chili powder, or combo of any)
1 tsp freeze dried parsley
2 cloves minced garlic
salt, pepper, hot sauce to taste
Now, instead of vinegar I've used: tequila, rice vinegar, wine, or rum. I think I even used Jack Daniels once.
I've also added: crushed pineapple, mango, roasted zucchini, fresh basil, fresh parsley, peppers (jalapenos, chili, roasted red)
I also use a variety of hot sauces. For myself, I use a plain Frank's hot sauce, a habanero, and a jamaican habanero. But I like things ridiculously spicy and no one else can eat this when I make it.
Just make sure the combinations work.
My favorite combo is to add crushed pineapple, roasted red peppers, rum, and fresh basil (and all 3 hot sauces!). So good!
The best recipe is the one you customize for yourself. Since really, the ingredients will differ in flavor from user to user, no recipe will net you the same results.
Get a blender or food proc ready (blender=thin or food proc can be thin or chopped)
a big white onion
Taste your peppers to add an amount of heat that makes sense to you.
If you remove the ribs/seeds, the chile flesh you add will not be as hot. I like a mix of jalapenos, and serranos. I rarely seed the peppers, but I'm ok with hot food.
Again, use an amount that makes sense to YOU. For the amts I have here, I'd use three cloves.
An amount that makes sense to you. I'd use half of a bunch.
Splash of vinegar - prolly two tbs
1 tsp of Cumin (because that makes sense for my tastes)
1/2 tsp good salt (again, my tastes)
Juice of one lime. (if there's no lime juice, you've got problems)
blend it or chop it, and see what you've got!
Variations on Chiles will vary the amount and style of heat you get. Some chile will alter the flavor profile. habaneros are REALLY fruity, scotch bonnets are a sneaky heat, dried ancho is warm, but not hot -the more you experiment, the more you can customize to what YOU like. Also, if you roast everything, off, you'll get a charred taste, and also condense the sugars in the ingredients for a sweeter, nuttier salsa. Maybe add a chipotle in adobo+some of the sauce. And then, there are the fruit salsas - basically sub a fruit for the tomato. I' chop these - never blenderize - plum/peach/mango/pear. Since tomatoes, fruits, garlic, and chile will vary in flavor/heat so much, a recipe will vary in flavor each time you make it. The recipe is just a guideline. Make it how YOU want it to be.
I will guarantee you this. Once you figure out that making salsa takes oh about 3 minutes from start to finish, you will find no reason whatsoever to eat any of that jarred garbage ever again. It is SO gross* Just plain wrong.
*Herdez brand makes a respectable canned version.