Fire-roasted Salsa Roja
Worldwide, salsas are among the most popular condiments. And with good reason, the combination of fresh vegetables, sometimes fruit and chili peppers, ramped up with a little citrus, vinegar, or other acid is a perfect topping for many a dish. There are about as many different kinds of salsa as there are dishes to put them upon. One of the great things about making your own with fresh, wholesome ingredients is that aside from the fantastic flavors and custom spice profile you eliminate all the unwanted additives found in so many of the ultra-processed, commercially available versions. In this way, you get to enjoy a custom crafted flavor bomb and tick off a daily serving of fruit and veg along the way!
- 8 grams dried Chipotle peppers
- 50 grams roasted Poblano peppers
- 10 grams fresh Serrano peppers
- 20 grams garlic
- 150 grams sweet onion
- 200 grams roasted tomatillos
- 500 grams roasted tomatoes
- 20 grams cilantro
- 10 grams (~2 tsp.) salt
- Juice of 1 lemon (optional)
When measuring out the amounts, use whole items and get as close as you can to the ratios and recommended measurements. For the chipotle peppers, you can use the prepared kind in adobe sauce and add it roughly chopped to the food processor. If using the dried and smoked variety (the one I prefer), lightly heat the chilis in a pan (along with the other ingredients if you are using that method) and as soon as the skins become supple, allow them to soak in warm water. This allows the tough fibers to break up with processing. There are many ways to get the fire roasted flavor. The first is to roast the ingredients over fire and smoke, which can be a tad impractical. Placing them in a smoker for a bit before or after charring is another method. You can also just char them in a pan on the stove-top (or on a comal pan as is often done in Mexico and Central America). Perhaps the most convenient is to simply place them under the oven broiler, rotating the sides every so often so they are uniformly blackened.
Whatever method you choose, blacken the peppers, garlic, onion, tomatillos, and tomatoes. When the peppers have finished, place them in a closed plastic bag to self-steam for 10 minutes. Add all the other ingredients to a food processor. Remove the peppers from the bag and remove any of the excessively charred bits of skin that have come loose. Allow some charred bits to remain, this adds a lovely flavor to the salsa. Pulse the mixture so it is roughly blended. Add salt and season as needed. Add the cilantro and briefly pulse once more to incorporate. Add the lemon juice if desired.