Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to Make Restaurant-Style Salsa

One of my favorite snacks is salsa with crispy tortilla chips. I usually have some salsa made up in the fridge at any given time, and if not, I usually have the ingredients on hand to whip some up. If you've never made your own salsa before, I'm going to show you how.  I call this "restaurant style" because Mexican restaurants always have good salsa - they make it fresh right there at the restaurant! You just can't buy anything like it in a store. And it's so easy, once you make your own, you'll never go back to buying it in a jar.

What you will need:

1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (regular, or fire-roasted)
1 can (4 oz.) green chilies
1 small can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 sweet yellow onion
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers
1 ripe tomato
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Pepper, to taste
Dash ground cumin
1 "handful" fresh cilantro

First, give your cilantro a bath by immersing in a bowl of cool water. Allow to sit in the water while you prepare your other ingredients.

Then transfer to a strainer and rinse with cool water.

Now place your garlic alone in the food processor and chop into tiny pieces.

Chop your tomato into chunks, and dice your jalapeno by first slicing longways into slender "sticks," then slice horizontally. Even though I will be putting my jalapeno into the food processor, I always dice it first, just to be sure we don't get any large chunks of jalapeno left in the salsa.

We like our salsa hot, so I do not remove the seeds from the jalapeno. I also try to pick out a nice, hot jalapeno to use. You can tell this one is hot because of the little white lines running up and down the pepper. If you like a mild salsa, pick out a bright green jalapeno with no white lines. Remove the seeds by cutting the jalapeno in half vertically, then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and some of the pulp (which is also hot). Then you can enjoy the flavor of the jalapeno without the heat.

Now put your tomatoes and jalapenos into the food processor with the garlic.

I forgot to put sugar in my picture of the ingredients. Sugar isn't necessary if you are using a very ripe, naturally sweet tomato (say, from the farmer's market, or your garden) - but most tomatoes I buy from the store need a little help.

 Add the canned tomatoes, green chilies, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, cumin, and sugar. Whir in food processor for about 30 seconds, until all ingredients are well-blended.

Now add the cilantro and pulse every few seconds, until cilantro is chopped and mixed well. Note: be sure to use the pulse feature for this step, which keeps the salsa from getting too watery.

After the cilantro has been chopped and blended, dice your half onion by hand. Transfer the salsa into a serving bowl and stir in the diced onion. I have learned not to use the food processor with the onion, as it will make the salsa too watery.

Give it a good stir, and it is ready to eat!

Our favorite tortilla chips are Juanita's brand. Oh so good!

Just like a Mexican restaurant. :)  Cover tightly and it will keep for a week in the fridge, if it doesn't get eaten up before then. I like to keep mine in a Mason jar.

 The aftermath. Time to clean up!