Today I'm going to start very simply. Salsa is a basic condiment, but the variations are anything but basic. Most everyone has their favorite recipes or favorite places to eat salsa. I love to make my own just the way I like it. When I was a young teeny bopper I was lucky enough to work in a family friend's Mexican restaurant that went out of business years ago. They had a salsa that was really unique tasting, chunky and addicting. It is the inspiration for my style of salsa. I love big chunks of tomato, lots of cilantro and a nice kick from jalapenos and chiletepins. Now like many people I know, my salsa is never really made exactly the same way. Here is a general guideline for a tasty salsa that you can use anywhere you want to use a great tomato style salsa. Feel free to change it up to your liking.
Chipotle Tomato Salsa
Makes 4 cups
2 fresh jalapenos
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
3 large green onions
1 - 15 oz can organic tomato sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from can of chipotles in adobo)
3 chiletepin (Scroll down for more information on chile tepin)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 - 28 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
In food processor add jalapenos, garlic, roughly chopped green onion (white and light green part only) and cilantro. Thinly slice the dark green part of the green onions and set aside. Pulse a few times to chop into smaller pieces. Add can of tomato sauce, adobo, tepins and black pepper and blend for about 30 seconds until vegetables are chopped small. Add diced tomatoes and pulse once or twice to combine, being careful not to pulverize the diced tomatoes. Keep those babies chunky! Pour into large bowl and stir in slice green onion. You can serve this right away, but the flavors really pop if you let it sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.
The chilitepin, also known as the Birdseye pepper scores a whopping 50,000 - 100,00 on the scoville scale. Here in Arizona they are pretty easy to find in local grocery stores that carry southwestern spices and chiles. Other parts of the country it may be a little more tricky. You may have to order them online...or you could talk me into swapping with you or mailing you some!! In 1997 this powerful little pepper became the official state native pepper of Texas. Here is another interesting fact-oid: the Wild Chile Botanical Area in the Coronado National Forest near Tucson, Arizona has the largest number of chiletepin chile pepper north of Mexico.
You must use caution when using the chilitepin. They are sold in dried form in a nice safe little pod. You experience the intense heat when you crush them. Make sure not to touch your eyes if you accidentally touch them after crushing them or you will be crying for sure. I love heat and these add a beautiful dimension of heat to your dishes. If you are not a fan of hot stuff, this might not be your kind of pepper. But for me and those who like hot stuff, these are awesome in salsas and bean dishes.