Roasty Red Salsa

After my brief digression about the difference between “salsa” and “pico de gallo”, a couple of people wrote to ask if I had a quick recipe for actual salsa.

Darn tootin’ I do.

Actually, if we are going to be 100% accurate about this, I’ve already posted a recipe for salsa with the Sweet Habanero Splash. However, rather than just being my regular acerbic self and telling them to wake up and pay attention, I am going to get fully into the spirit of the holidays here and pony up a second salsa recipe. This one is amazingly simple, a lot less lethal than the habanero stuff, and is probably something you will want to keep in the fridge 365 days a year. You need a blender or food processor, just so you know. Keep reading for all the details.

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This makes one jar that lasts about two weeks in your fridge:

1 huge or two medium red tomatoes
4 cloves of unpeeled garlic
3 canned chipotle peppers, seeds scraped out but adobo still clinging to the outside
1 teaspoon of salt
Water. Your amount will vary.

Put your tomato (or tomatoes, if that is how you are rolling) and your garlic on a baking sheet – remember, these are both unpeeled. Stick them under a hot broiler (about the width of your hand away from the heat) for 5 minutes. Turn everything over and broil them for 5 minutes more. The skins should be blistered and turning black in spots. Take them out of the broiler when done and let them cool fully.

When they are cool, peel both the tomato (or tomatoes) and the garlic. Dump them into the blender or food processor with the chipotles and whiz them until everything is completely liquified. If your blender is a little less robust than you would like, you might want to rough chop everything first. If you do, remember to scoop up all of the juice of the tomatoes and get it into the mix.

Add half the salt and enough water to get a nice consistency – this should be a thin and spoonable sauce. Anywhere from a 1/4 cup to a 1/2 cup will probably get you to where you want. Then add half of the salt and taste. If you need more salt, add in a little more at a time, tasting as you go, up to the entire teaspoon. Finally, pour everything through a strainer (you want to catch out any bits of tomato seed or skin that might have survived the blender) and into a jar. Slap the lid on, keep it in the fridge, and it will stay good for weeks.

You will find all sorts of uses for this. One of my favourites is to reheat shredded roasted chicken in a frying pan with a bit of onion and a couple of spoonfuls of this for quick tostada or taco filling. If you needed a starting point, that is as good as any. Have fun.

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