We are big salsa nuts at our house; we like it spicy and fresh. Traditionally, salsa is made with Roma or Plum tomatoes because they are meatier and have less water content. You can use any type of tomato for salsa; just know that your results will vary with different types. (I used regular garden tomatoes for this salsa.)
Roasting your tomatoes, garlic, and chiles set the flavors apart. It really does make a difference in the flavor. I also use a lava-rock mortar to make a paste from the roasted garlic, chiles, and salt. If you don’t have a mortar, you can do the same thing on a cutting board. It’s a simple first step.
Lay the tomatoes on a baking sheet and place about 6 inches below a very hot broiler. Place your garlic and chiles in this pan. Put a little salt on them before you roast. Roast until tomatoes are blistered on one side, about 6 minutes; with a spoon or pair of tongs, flip the tomatoes and roast on the other side for 6 minutes.
- 1 pound (2 large round or 4-6 medium round or 6 to 8 plum) red, ripe tomatoes (Hint: should fill a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup)
- 4 fresh Serrano chiles (approx. 1 ounce of chilies)
- 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt for roasting
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt for salsa
- 1 small (about 3 ounces) white onion, finely chopped
- A generous 1/3 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
Add the tomatoes to a blender or food processor and pulse a few times until you have a coarse-textured puree. Add the roasted garlic and Serrano chile paste, salt, and vinegar to tomatoes. Mix and add chopped onions and cilantro. Best if it sits for a couple of hours.
Notes: Roma or plum tomatoes will make a thicker salsa. Very ripe round tomatoes will make a thinner salsa. If you use more tomatoes, increase your chopped white onion. Serrano chiles are supposed to be 5 times hotter than jalapenos – I don’t think they are. I prefer Serrano over Jalapeno.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.