World Tour Day Four: Mexico.
When I was pregnant with my first child, this was what I craved. A big bowl of salsa and some chips and I was good to go. At the time, I was working three days a week and on those days I would suggest/coerce/force the girls in the office to go with me to the Mexican restaurant for lunch. We would go to one of the many in the area, all named after some Jose – San Jose, Juan Jose, Don Jose – it didn’t matter which to me, as long as they kept the salsa bowl filled. I know the girls were glad when my due date finally came.
Contrary to the feeling I have about the guacamole at Mexican restaurants, I really love the flavor of their salsa. In my quest to find a homemade version just as good, salsa has become another one of my cooking obsessions. I mean the variations are endless, just the beginning being fresh vs. canned tomatoes, jalapeno vs. serrano peppers, vinegar vs. lime juice, white vs. yellow vs. red vs. green onion, and on and on. Aye yae yae!
The part that stumped me for a while was dealing with the onion. I like it in my salsa, but if it’s processed at the beginning with the peppers and garlic, the juices release and make the whole thing taste like onion (and probably your breath for the rest of the week, too). So far, I have found that chopping them up by hand, rinsing and draining them, then adding them at the end works. But, oh, how I hate the extra step. I want easy, too, is that too much to ask? I’m going to try processing them with the tomatoes next time, and if that doesn’t work, then maybe processing them first then dumping them in a colander to rinse and drain and stir in at the end.
It’s taken me a long time to put together a salsa recipe that I think gives those Mexican restaurants some competition, but this one is a keeper!
makes about 4 cups
- 1/2 cup onion (any color), finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed and halved
- 1 large fresh tomato, quartered
- 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes in juice
- 1/3 cup cilantro, loosely packed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Put the chopped onion into a strainer and rinse under cold water. Shake off the excess water and pour into a medium bowl.
- Place the garlic and jalapenos in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped.
- Add all the tomatoes and the cilantro to the processor and pulse until you have a coarse puree.
- Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the onions, add the lime juice and salt, and stir to combine. Taste, and add more lime juice or salt if needed.