How About Some Salsa

We all need a break, right?

So some time ago, my friend Jeff turned me onto the pleasure of home made salsa.  The freshness simply overwhelms store bought brands, and it’s easy to make.  How easy?  Let’s take a look.

First, ingredients.  I’m not a big fan of measuring things, but this is more or less what you need:

A few (five?) pounds of good tomatoes.  Take a look below for a rough idea.

Fresh Cilantro

Habanero or other hot pepper

Jalepaneo or other medium hot pepper

Red Onion

1 Tsp Salt

2 Tsp Suger

Few ounces of Beer

Juice of One Lime

So away we go.  Here’s a picture of my whole kit.  Let’s start by mincing up a bunch of cilantro using a mincing knife (before and after pictures below.)  A mincing knife is incredibly handy, especially when it comes to dicing up the peppers later.

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Okay, next the habanero.  You need to be a little careful with these for two reasons.  First, some people find them to be too hot, so you don’t want to inadvertently add too much.  Second, the hotness of these peppers seems to vary widely, so you need to taste a sliver before you start to see what you’re working with.  For my family, I usually use about 1/4 of a minced pepper.  For just myself I would use more.  It needs to be cut into very small pieces, almost like a paste, so that it spreads smoothly throughout the salsa and doesn’t leave little “hot bombs” for the unsuspecting.  Here the pepper has been sliced but not yet minced:

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Jalepeno or long hot or whatever else you use follows the same rule:

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After dicing it looks like this, almost paste:

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Okay, now let’s cut up a red onion:

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At this point, you can throw the cilantro, the onion, the peppers, the juice of one lime, a few ounces of beer, a teaspoon of salt and a couple of teaspoons of sugar into a bowl to let the flavors start mixing:

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Ahh, that’s good stuff.  Now, unlike my friend Jeff who is a really good cook who hand prepares everything, I’ll use a food processor to chop up my tomatoes for two reasons.  One, I’m lazy.  And two, it makes it quick to make a large pot of Salsa that will last the week.  I confess Jeff’s Salsa always seems to taste better than mine, but even my “mass produced” stuff is head and shoulders above the supermarket jars surrounding the chip aisle.

I quarter the tomatoes and cut out the top stem part, then throw them in the processor.  You just need to pulse for a second or two to get great texture:

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Simply add to your other ingredients as you process:

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At the end, the whole thing is mixed thoroughly until you get this awesome looking (and tasting) final product:

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At this point, I’ll taste the salsa and make judgements.  Sometimes a little more salt is needed.  Sometimes a little more sugar.  Sometimes you may want a little more heat via additional hot peppers.  It all depends on many factors that weigh into the particular batch.

At this point, cover and put in fridge for a few hours.  The flavors will begin to really blend, delivering a fantastic fresh salsa that tastes nothing like the stuff you get in jars or most restaurants.  Enjoy!

One more thing.  Heirloom Tomatoes come in an array of radical colors (purple, yellow, green!) and make for a colorful as well as delicious final product.  My past few batches have been 100% Heirloom.

UPDATE: I made a batch of Salsa yesterday using Heirloom tomatoes.  The picture below is not great, but it at least shows the color variations that can happen.  This looks almost like a salsa verde.  I went heavy on the yellow Habanero on this one – Excellent!

Salsa2

I haven’t posted in a long time, so I thought we should start by having some summer fun.

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