What would the world be without salsa? Salsa is healthy, vibrant, and simple while at the same time capable of great complexity. There was a time in our country when ketchup ruled the condiment world, a bleak time in history to be sure. Thankfully we are now in the know and have at our disposable thousands of recipes for glorious salsa.
This particular salsa is quite simple. Not a lot of ingredients, easy and quick to make, and it allows the natural flavors of the tomatoes and peppers to shine through. I consider it an essential recipe. The problem with simple recipes is that when there are not a lot of ingredients the quality of technique and integrity of the ingredients are paramount. Be sure to char the tomatoes, peppers, and onions well in the oven. The other key is the dry pan roasting of the garlic. The unpeeled cloves of garlic get roasted in a medium hot pan until blackened and charred. This adds a smoky sweet element to the salsa that is really amazing.
Essential Charred Tomato Salsa
Makes 1 quart
2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 7 Roma tomatoes)
2 to 4 Jalapeño Chili’s
1 habanero chili (optional)
1 onion, rough chopped
8 garlic cloves, fresh and not peeled!
2/3 cup fresh cilantro (about 2 bunches)
3 fresh limes
3 teaspoons kosher salt
- Start the broiler on your oven on high.
- Begin by slicing the stem off of all the tomatoes and slicing them in half lengthwise. Also slice the stem off all the chilies and slice them in half as well. You may want to use gloves to avoid getting any of the oils on your fingers . . . then eventually in your eyes!
- Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil, oil it or spray it lightly with pan spray. Place the tomatoes on the tray with skin side up. Scatter the jalapeños skin side up on the try as well. Scatter the rough chopped onions as well.
- Place the tray in the oven under the hot broiler until the skin on the tomatoes and peppers are blisters and blackened. In my oven this takes about 20 minutes. While they are broiling heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. When hot add the garlic cloves (do not peel) and cook on medium heat, with no oil, until blackened, charred, and soft (about 15 minutes). Cool everything down in refrigerator.
- Once everything is cool peel the garlic and put in a blender with the tomatoes, peppers and onions. Add the juice of two limes and two teaspoons of the salt. Puree until roughly pureed, not too smooth.
- Use the remaining salt and lime to adjust the seasoning. It should be highly seasoned!!
Thyme for some spice,