NOTE: This makes a pretty hot salsa! If you like it more medium to mild, I recommend adding the red pepper flakes and jalapenos at the very end, and only adding enough to suit your taste.
For those of you who are new to making salsa or blanching tomatoes...you're in luck! I just made a batch of salsa today, and I took pictures so I can give you the play-by-play. Here we go...
You won't need this many tomatoes - this batch was HUGE! Please ignore the zucchini. We will not be adding zucchini to the salsa!
1. Pluck off the green stem
2. Make a very small slit in the skin
3. Place tomato(es) in boiling water...but only until you see the skin start to peel. You do NOT want to cook the tomatoes. You only want to heat them up a bit. I make the slit in the skin so that it's obvious when the skin starts to come off.
4. AS SOON as the skin starts to get cracked looking, take the tomatoes out of the hot water and put them into the ice water. This cools the tomato and prevents it from getting too cooked.
5. If a tomato is a bit green, you'll want to leave it in the boiling water for an extra minute or so. Those greenish suckers never want to peel very easily.
As you can see from the above picture, the skin comes off pretty easily after blanching. Peel and core the tomatoes. I also like to cut them into quarters to make them easier for my Cuisinart later on:
Here's about how much of the green onion you'll use:
Again, PLEASE remember to rinse the cilantro very well! Chop about half the bunch (stem and all). Past about the half-way mark, the stems start to get a bit tough. I just do half, and toss the rest in the compost pile. I chop the cilantro pretty coarsely. It looks like this:
Now for the yellow onion: Peel, and chop. I usually just chop it into 1/8ths or so, and let the fancy-schmansy machine to most of the work for me.
Peppers. Alright folks. Do any nose scratching and eye rubbing that must be done BEFORE handling the peppers! Believe me, you'll regret it if you do it with oil from these babies on your fingers. I warned you, so I don't want to hear any whining if you don't take my advice!
Rinse, remove the stem, and core the peppers. Chop very finely. The machine doesn't do a very good job with these, and you're not going to want giant bites of jalapeno in your salsa.
Add the tomatoes to the bowl with the onions. I find that the tomato-onion ratio is one of the most critical factors in a good salsa (wow...what a geeky sounding sentence, did I really just say that?). Seriously though - it matters. Your onion-tomato mixture should look about like this:
Lookin' good. Now add the cilantro and green onions:
Now to the spices. Hint: this is one of my secrets to great salsa, so listen up! I add the tomato sauce and paste to the food processor with all the spices, the garlic, the lime juice, and the jalapenos. BLEND WELL. This will really get all those amazing flavors incorporated into the sauce. It's much easier to get a consistent salsa with even spices all the way through. Mixing these goodies into the big batch of tomatoes and onions is tough to do thoroughly.
Just look at the giant pot of salsa I made today! As a point of reference, this is my "chicken soup pot". When I make chicken soup, I can fit an entire bunch of celery, 5 pounds of carrots, about a gallon of water, and an ENTIRE chicken in this pot! It's a BIG pot!
I just don't even have the words to tell you how happy this makes me:
And one final note...I recommend using the salsa fresh. Keep it refrigerated, and use within a couple of months. However, if you make more than you think you'll be able to use, it also cans very well. The flavor and consistency change a bit, but it's still delicious. Check your favorite cookbook for canning instructions :)
PS. One of my favorite ways to use fresh salsa is as a seasoning for taco meat. Take one of these 12 oz jars, add it to a pound of browned burger or chicken, and simmer until a thick consistency. Your house will smell like heaven, and you'll probably eat until you nearly burst (like I do)!
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