Originally Published in the Greenwood Daily Journal Saturday July 23, 2011
If I have said it once I have said it a million times: salsa is like another food group to me! Red, green, fruity or sweet, I love this zesty condiment! Now is the time to try your hand at salsa making as the fresh produce is cheaper and easily accessible this time of year. Creating the perfect salsa recipe is a major hobby for some, there are even festivals held around the country to celebrate this past time.
Recently, I discovered No Name Salsa at the Greenwood Farmers Market. This is made by a local couple out of their home and they sell it both online and at the market. Their prices are great and it is always made fresh before it is packaged and sold. I had heard a few co-workers talking about this salsa a few months ago and so I had to track them down to try it for myself. I had the medium heat variety and it was great! Just enough heat and great flavor to boot.
My husband and I have eaten at a lot of places that serve chips and salsa and the funny thing is we seem to ‘grade’ these places by their salsa. Their food may be great but all we care about is how their salsa was!
What I have noticed is that, like many recipes, every person seems to have their own secret recipe. Mine isn’t much of a secret but more of a hybrid of a fresh Pico de Gallo and a taco sauce. Depending on my mood and how much time I have, I may puree all of this to a smooth consistency or I may leave it a little chunky. Sometimes I like to see what I am eating.
I have made more varieties of salsa than I can list and I never really make it the same way twice. It seems like when I do make it we all have to throw our 2 cents in and I change it the next time and so it goes that I don’t have a definitive ‘salsa’ recipe now.
For me, my basic red has three bases that have to be covered. I need cilantro, a thin consistency and a little heat. Not too much, but just enough to give it a little kick. Make a few changes to what you put in your by adding flavors that you like. For example, I like to taste the lime in mine so I add more juice than most. Sometimes, I add diced sweet peppers for crunch and color.
On the flip side of my love of red salsa is my affection for Salsa Verde. I am a recent convert in my love of the tomatillo. I think I was stumped as to how to prepare it, it IS an odd looking little thing. A member of the gooseberry family, the tomatillo has a hidden tangy sweetness that many have yet to have tried. I cannot imagine a cheese enchilada or pulled pork taco without it! Like my red salsa, this Salsa Verde is adaptable to what you would like to taste in your finished product. I know a local restauranteur who gave me his recipe years ago and what I have now is my take on his classic recipe from his homeland.
I hope you try one of these out. It may be similar to what you make already. In my red salsa I grill the tomatoes, while, before throwing in a blender. Sometimes I just chop them and skip the grill. Grilling gives them a smoky flavor that I like. In my salsa Verde I use fresh if I can find them but I have used canned if I am in a hurry. Both ways are good. Enjoy this condiment, I hope it puts a zesty kick in your day!
Fresh Salsa with Roasted Tomatoes and Jalapenos
7 firm medium tomatoes, cold
2 jalapeno peppers, stems removed
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 C water
Juice of 1 lime (sometimes I use the zest as well )
1/3 C diced white onion
1/2 C cilantro (I use a lot because I love it)
Grill the tomatoes (start stem side down) and jalapenos on a medium grill on both sides or until black all over (about 20 minutes). Put both in a bowl to cool, about 10 minutes. Dump all contents of bowl into a blender.
Blend the Tomatoes and jalapenos until smooth. Pause it and add the rest of your ingredients. Pulse until pureed.
I put some of this in the refrigerator (well..we ate most of that right away) and put the rest in a few cute mason jars to give away. This keeps for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
**This is a mild version. Like all things you should taste this and add another pepper or a few dashes of hot sauce according to your tastes.
1 1/2 lb tomatillos
1 medium white onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, or more if you like cilantro like me!
Juice of 1 fresh lime
zest of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 Jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped. Use 2 more if you like it hot.
Salt to taste
1/4 C water if you need it to thin it
3 cloves of garlic, optional, I like this but it’s not for everyone.
Remove papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse well.
Place tomatillos in a saucepan, cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove tomatillos with a slotted spoon. Place tomatillos and the rest of the ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season to taste with salt. Cool in refrigerator.