I can’t help it. I’m addicted. I keep trying NOT to make Mexican dishes, but it hasn’t been working.
Maybe I should make Mexican my specialty? I still can’t decide what style or region of cooking I want to focus on, but I do know Mexican cuisine is in the running. And this salsa is one of the reasons why.
What I love about Mexican food is that the same ingredients are made into hundreds of different dishes, each with its own unique flavor.
I did a spin on a fresh tomato salsa, and I cooked it twice. Yup, I said it—twice. Roasting and frying (aka sauté) are the two methods we’re employing, and both help to make this salsa the flavor powerhouse it is. First, I turned up the air conditioning roasted the main components of the salsa: tomatoes, onions and garlic. Roasting brings out the sweetness of the vegetables and concentrates their flavors.
Next, I threw all the roasted veggies in a blender and pureed them with chipotles to add smokiness and heat. Finally, I sautéed the salsa in a bit of oil to deepen its color and flavor. It’s pretty simple really, and the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes plays beautifully with the smokiness of the chipotles. You’ll want to put it on absolutely everything, from tacos and tortilla chips to eggs and chicken. And if you’re like me, you’ll dream up meals just so you have an excuse to eat it.
Roasted Tomato and Chipotle Salsa
Roasting the vegetables gives this salsa a richer, more concentrated flavor, and briefly frying the salsa gives it color and depth. Freeze the leftover chipotles in a plastic freezer bag and then simply slice what you need from the frozen mass the next time you need them. Makes about 3 cups. Download a printable copy of this recipe.
1.5 lb plum tomatoes, quartered
1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
2-3 chipotles in adobo from a 7-oz. can
2 limes, divided
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1–2 Tbs. tequila or mezcal
Sugar, if necessary
2-3 Tbs. minced cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Roast the tomatoes. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Arrange the tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves on a large baking dish. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables until the tomatoes look shrunken and almost bursting and the onion is browned, about 25–30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes.
Blend salsa. Peel the garlic, and carefully move the tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves to a blender. Add 2 chipotles and the juice of 1 lime to the blender. Pulse to blend the salsa until it’s almost completely smooth. Taste the salsa, and if you’d like a deeper chipotle flavor, blend another chipotle into the salsa now.
Finish salsa. Heat 1 Tbs. vegetable oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the salsa and let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes for the color to deepen, stirring occasionally. Add the tequila and bring the salsa to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Taste the salsa, and season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar if the salsa is acidic. Stir in the cilantro and squeeze in the juice of 1 more lime if the salsa needs some brightness. Move the salsa to another container, let cool and put it in the fridge for a few hours to chill and let the flavors meld. Serve with chips, on tacos, even with your eggs.
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