When it comes to homemade salsa, in high tomato season, anyway, I’m usually more of a pico de gallo gal.
Finely diced fresh tomato, onion, garlic, and pepper, finished with a little lime, salt, and cilantro. No cooking, but lots and lots of chopping.
Last week, though, I saw Deb Perelman’s post on a three-ingredient salsa: Tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeños briefly broiled together, then buzzed in a blender. That’s it. No mincing, no dicing, no peeling. That’s appealing. Especially when I already have three kitchen projects on the docket for my “day off.”
So with a handful of meaty, Opalka beauties screaming to be used TODAY, I gave it a whirl.
Wow. You could mess with this in a whole lot of ways. Grill instead of broil; add corn or beans or squash or peaches or mangoes or pineapple; whir in some chipotle en adobo at the end. Customize away.
Whizbang Summer Salsa
Takes 15 minutes, max, and makes about 2 cups of salsa. I prefer the texture of plum or paste tomatoes here (fewer seeds and less jelly makes for a richer, heartier salsa), but you could definitely use slicers instead. Just be sure to squeeze out some of the gooey seed gel before you broil.
- 6-8 large plum or paste tomatoes (I had about a 1.5 pounds), trimmed of the stem and halved
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 large jalapeño pepper (more or less, since Some Like it Hot – and some don’t), halved and seeded
- half a large white onion, cut into large chunks
- salt, to taste
- juice of one lime
- 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or grilled (optional)
- handful of cilantro, chopped (optional)
Turn on your broiler (I used the top-most rack position, but depending on how big your tomatoes are and on how powerful your own oven is, you may need to lower it a bit).
Arrange the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and onions in a single layer on a foil-covered sheet or roasting pan. Sprinkle a little salt over everything.
Broil for 4-5 minutes, rotating the pan midway through. At this point, pull out and set aside any bits that are already nicely charred.
Return the pan to the broiler, and cook for another 4-6 minutes, until everything looks toasty but not burnt.
Load everything into a blender or food processor (don’t forget any bits you set aside after Round One). Carefully pulse until you get the consistency you like. I go for a fairly chunky texture, but if you like it thinner, by all means zap away (or even add a little water if you need to).
Let it cool a bit, then squeeze in the lime juice. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and mix in the cilantro and any other add-ons you like.
Refrigerate any salsa you don’t use right away, but bring any leftovers back to room temperature before you serve them. Enjoy within 4-5 days.