Reader beware. You may never want to buy premade salsa again once you make this one. I’m not even kidding. It’s authentic, it’s easy and it’s out of control delicious. When it comes to my recipes, if my husband gives me a compliment then I know I have a winner. He said it’s better than any salsa he’s ever had in a restaurant. I’m gonna take that compliment and hang it on the refrigerator with a gold star. Most of my blog recipes are for meal ideas but salsa is a staple in our house and deserves it’s own blog post. We easily go through a container in 1-2 days and let me tell you…”good” salsa isn’t cheap. Every afternoon like clockwork, about 4:30 PM, I hear Steve grab the bag of tortilla chips and open the refrigerator door to grab whatever salsa we have on hand. While he fills up on pre-dinner chips, I slice up my bell pepper and cucumber and use my veggie sticks as dippers for the salsa. As much as I love chips and salsa, it’s not part of my daily nutrition. The salsa, yes, the chips, no. I save my chip indulgences for the real deal chips at the Mexican restaurant because I can’t resist eating all the pico de gallo when waiting for my lettuce wrapped tacos. I’ll eat the chips but not the taco shell. Totally makes sense right? Actually it does, because when you eat flexibly it’s about choice. I choose to have chips and wrap my tacos in lettuce because they’re actually super delicious that way. If I wanted the tortillas, I would opt out of chips for the night. That’s just the way this thing works. Always keeping the balance.
Anyways, the bottom line is we are salsa snobs. There’s no salsa out there that you can buy that is like OMG good. If I want the good stuff, I usually go to our local taqueria and buy theirs. My sister-in-law is Argentinian. Not salsa people per se. However, one of her best friend’s Lupis is from Mexico and makes some damn good homemade salsa and guacamole. Although her guacamole is pretty stellar, I prefer my own chunky white girl version. Her salsa, however, was exactly the style that I love. Although I love my pico de gallo, there’s a time and place for it. When it comes to straight salsa, I’m a fire-roasted kind of girl. I wanted to make a salsa that felt authentic in it’s flavors. Something that couldn’t be bought. So she taught me the basics and then I elevated it. That may sound a little bit overly confident since she’s Mexican and I’m just an Italian girl that makes up things as I go, but for reals. This stuff is the shit. Sorry Lupis, I got you here.
I’ve been making this salsa for the last few months now but was saving the recipe for all of you planning on celebrating your favorite Mexican Holiday, which isn’t even their real Independence Day. But Americans don’t care what the occasion is when margaritas and tacos are involved.
I have a disclaimer for this recipe though. I have made several batches of this salsa and each comes out just slightly different but all absolutely delicious. It’s one of those recipes that I don’t use exact measurements for because produce is never the same size. So I’m going to give you approximates. Don’t freak out because as long as you use the right ingredients and follow the process, it really can’t come out wrong. And, if you like more of one ingredient than another, or feel like omitting/adding others, then by all means go for it! I have given a range of amounts for the ingredients, depending on size and preference. Experiment and have fun. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. The store bought stuff just won’t cut it anymore.
Fire Roasted Salsa
5-6 Roma Tomatoes
1 Green Bell Pepper
1/3 – 1/2 White Onion Finely Chopped
2 Large or 3 Small Jalapenos
5-8 Garlic Cloves
Salt & Pepper
Optional Additions: Garlic & Onion Powder
Wash and dry the tomatoes, bell pepper and jalapenos. Coat a pan or skillet with non-stick spray of choice and heat on medium high for a minute or two. Place the Roma tomatoes in the pan and cook. Rotate the tomatoes frequently, allowing all sides of the tomato (top and bottom as well) to be heated by the pan. Remove from pan when finished and place in a medium sized mixing bowl to cool. Do not rinse the bowl after removing the tomatoes. The juices that collect at the bottom will only enhance the flavor of the overall salsa at the end!
While tomatoes are roasting in the pan, place the bell pepper and jalapenos over the open flames of your stove. On medium heat, allow the flame to come in direct contact with the pepper and jalapenos. Rotate frequently until all sides have charred and they have become soft. Remove from stove and set aside once completely flame-roasted.
While produce is cooling, finely chop the white onion (depending on preference, either chop extremely fine or leave chunky. I prefer to chop almost to the point that it becomes slightly mushy and the juices run out). Set onions aside and pull a handful of cilantro off a fresh bunch and finely chop as well.
When the tomatoes have cooled a bit, remove about 2/3 of the skin off each tomato to discard and then place the tomatoes with the rest of the skin on in a food processor. Take the charred jalapeno and remove all the blackened skin. The skin should come off easily with either a knife or paper towel. Cut off the stem end of the jalapeno and then cut lengthwise. Depending on your preference of spiciness, remove as many of the seeds as you like. For a “medium” salsa, remove the seeds of only one jalapeno and add all of the second (or seeds of 1 and 1/2 jalapeno if using three small ones). Add the jalapeno to the food processor.
Add the cloves of garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
Process all ingredients until everything is combined into mostly liquid form. The consistency of the base should resemble a tomato sauce. Pour the contents of the food processor back into the mixing bowl used to cool the tomatoes. Add the chopped white onion and cilantro. Pull the charred skin off of the green bell pepper, cut off the stem end and finely chop the pepper as you did with the onion. Add to the salsa mixture. Combine all ingredients with a spoon.
At this point your salsa is complete, however, if you would like to add additional salt and pepper, do so now. You may also add garlic and onion powder to enhance those flavors as well. These additional steps are based on personal preference!
You can serve the salsa immediately, however, if possible, allow salsa ingredient flavors to meld for a few hours. Store salsa in an air tight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to a week…if it will even last that long before it’s eaten 🙂