Simple Salsa – I promise

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Salsa is a mainstay in Mexico and the southwest because a) it’s so delicious; and b) it’s easy to make, or at least many popular variations are…

So, leave your preconceived notions about how you don’t know how to make good salsa behind, and play along with me. You won’t be sorry.

NOTE: You will need some tortilla chips to enjoy the salsa, and more importantly, to taste test your salsa, so buy a bag when you shop for these easy to find ingredients.

2 lbs of roma tomatoes

1 bunch of cilantro

1 lemon or lime (either small or large – let’s not make something simple hard)

1 white onion (I can’t bend on this, must be white)

sea salt (if you don’t have sea salt, iodized table salt works fine too – keepin’ it simple)

2 serrano or jalapeno peppers ( I have been getting some really mild jalapenos lately, so I switched to serrano peppers to ensure that my salsa had some kick – if you use jalapenos, make sure they are spicy enough. I bought some last month that were as mild as a bell pepper, and did nothing for my salsa)

One question that may be brewing in your minds upon having read the ingredient list. Where is the garlic? Garlic changes the flavor drastically, for this particular recipe we are going to forego the garlic for a straight-forward salsa flavor.

These instructions are simple, but follow a particular SIMPLE method, so stick with me 🙂

1) Dice half (one pound) of your tomatoes), put in a large bowl (2 + quarts)

2) Mince the equivalent of one small white onion. If you have a large white onion, use about half of it.

3) In this order, place the following into your blender:

LAYER 1: 1/2 of remaining tomatoes (cut in halves) (this layer should be at the bottom of  your blender)

LAYER 2: cilantro (Use the entire bunch, minus the stems. Just cut off the stems just below where the bulk of the leaves end, and use the leafy portion, I would guess this is about the top 4 or 5 inches of your bunch of cilantro, don’t worry about de-stemming the leaves.) (middle layer)

LAYER 3: serrano or jalapeno peppers (you may want to start with one pepper, just to be safe. Cut the stem from the pepper, and then cut the pepper in half, and add to the blender – do not touch the cut ends of the pepper with your hands, this is dangerous because the oils stay on your fingers even after washing, and will burn your eyes, nose, mouth and other sensitive areas. Use your knife to transfer the cut peppers, or even use a plastic bag over your hand to pick them up)

LAYER 4: other 1/2 remainder of tomatoes (cut in halves) (top layer)

Now, before you being blending, tamp down the contents of the blender with a wooden spoon, or whatever you have laying around. Now blend the mixture. Use the “pulse” feature to blend in spurts. You don’t want the mixture too watery, like juice, but you do want it pretty well minced up. Your cilantro will look like the size of parsley flakes when it has reached the right consistency. Stop blending and mix it with a spoon. Make sure there aren’t any big chunks of tomatoes, or long leaves of cilantro. If so, mix it around, and blend for a few more seconds.

4) Now, pour the blended mixture over your diced tomato and onion mixture.

5) Add salt. Salsa requires quite a bit of salt to be “right”, so don’t be afraid, add at least one tsp. to start. Add from there according to your taste.

6) Cut your lemon or lime in half, and squeeze the juice over your salsa. Mix the entire mixture with a spoon.

7) Taste your salsa! If you need more spiciness, take a few cups of your salsa and put it back in the blender with the additional pepper. Once you have blended this mixture, add it back to your salsa and mix well.

A few things worth mentioning:

* The reason I don’t blend the onion with the other mixture to save time, is that the onion gets really frothy and changes the look and feel of the salsa. It needs to be chopped by hand. Even many food processors don’t do a very good job getting the onions chopped as nicely as you can by hand.

* You can add more peppers, but in my experience, 2 serranos for this size of a batch is quite spicy. Likely, would be considered “hot” by most salsa standards. One serrano would likely get you “medium” spicy, and half would likely get you to “mild”.

* If you don’t have a blender, you can cut all of the ingredients by hand. I would add that if you are dicing the peppers, be sure to use gloves, or plastic bags on your hands (I have even used grocery bags tied at my wrists for this operation – once you touch your eye with a peppery finger, you won’t ever go unprotected again. Also, your fingers will start to burn if you are handling a lot of peppers at a time, even more mild peppers. It is a very uncomfortable pain, and I don’t want any of you to suffer 🙂  )

* This salsa will last in the fridge for a few days. If you won’t eat it all that soon, an easy way to keep it longer, is to cook it. Dump the salsa in a sauce pan, add about a teaspoon of vinegar, and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for a few minutes, and then remove from heat. You can then jar it, or put it in the refrigerator in any container you have. Once, cooked,it will last for a few weeks refrigerated.

I hope that this “method” creates an easy and tasty result for you all. This is invariably how I make large batches of salsa, as it certainly saves me a bunch of time chopping tomatoes. I like to have some chunks, which is why I do hand dice about half of the tomatoes, but this blend seems to work out well, and I am sharing this with you after spending hundreds of hours making salsa, and trying to figure out how to streamline the process when making gallons at a time.

Enjoy!!

I would love any feedback you may have. Also, let me know what salsa recipe I should share next, I make them all: Mango lime, Pineapple, chipotli, red chili, green chili, etc!

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