Seal of (Salsa) Approval

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I never really understood the difference between Tex-Mex and Mexican food until moving to Texas.  What I learned is that there is a lot blurry lines, but Tex-Mex tends to have a heavy use of shredded meat, shredded cheese and also flour tortillas.  Essentially, it is Americanized Mexican food.  The benefit of living in Dallas is that I’ve been able to happily stuff my face with both types of cuisines, authentic and Americanized.  One tie that binds the two is the homemade salsa that is served by pint at every restaurant.

If there was one thing I needed to master while living in Texas, I would have to say its homemade salsa.  I’m obsessed with salsa paired with my eggs for breakfast, in place of dressings in my salads for lunch, and smothered over grilled chicken or grilled fish for dinner.  It adds tons of flavor to any dish without tons of fat.

After doing local research on the best way to make salsa, I uncovered two main ways.  The old fashioned way is via mortar and pestle and the new-age way is by way of the food processor.  I chose the latter since that’s what I happen to own…and seemed much easier!  To get a delicious, smoky, deep flavor, I broiled the vegetables first in the oven until black spots formed.  To enhance the flavor, I whisked in a bit of vinegar to give it extra zip.  In the below recipe, I used two jalapenos, and the results are hot!  For a milder salsa, reduce the jalapenos to one.  I hope you enjoy!

Homemade Salsa

Ingredients

  • 6-8 ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1-2 large fresh jalapenos
  • 3 garlic cloves, still in jackets
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp of vinegar

Instructions

  1. Heat Oven to Broil and place the rack at the top about 4 inches from the broiler.
  2. On a foil lined sheet pan, place tomatoes, jalapeno and garlic cloves.
  3. Broil for 6-8 minutes until the vegetables turn black and blistered, turning the vegetables over halfway through the time.
  4. Cut the stem off of the jalapeno, remove the casings of the garlic, and remove the stem portion from the tomatoes.
  5. Grind jalapeno, salt and garlic in the food processor until combined.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in tomatoes and vinegar.
  7. Pulse until a thick puree forms.
  8. Mix in cilantro and shallots and combine until blended. If too chunky, you can add 1-2 tbs of water.
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