This one’s made in….New York City. ::::gasp!:::: NEW YORK CITY?!?! Remember those Pace Picante Sauce commercials with all the cowboys sitting around a campfire, about to have some delicious salsa, only to discover someone made a party foul and brought sauce made in New York?
Hmm…well, regardlessly, this week’s Wreck is brought to you in part by my momma (because she taught me how to do this) and also the hopes that I can coax you people out of your comfy routine of using the store-bought varieties for all your salsa needs. Sure, there are some pretty tasty ones out there, but today…WE ARE MAKING SALSA, PEOPLE!
I promise, it’s so simple, and your family and guests will be impressed at your worldly culinary prowess. :::wink:::
Lets get started. We are going to make a tomato-tomatillo salsa today. You could always use just one or the other, but this is my favorite combination because tomatillos give it a nice tang. And don’t you worry if you don’t know what a tomatillo looks like, I’ll teach you.
Now, I need you to cruise to your favorite market, and head straight to the produce:
1. Tomatoes. You could use any variety you want, but I prefer the smaller ones on the vine, or even roma tomatoes. The smaller ones tend to be about the same size as the tomatillos…which makes the cooking process easier because they’ll need the same amount of time. You will need about 5 tomatoes.
2. Tomatillos. Remember I told you I would teach you? Well you can’t say I lied. This is what they look like. Underneath that husk, they like very much like green tomatoes. Try to pick ones with husks intact. Just like other produce, avoid the ones that look wrinkly, bruised or pitted. Also, You’re going to want ones that are similar (exactness isn’t that important, just more convenient) in size to your tomatoes. You will need about 5-7, depending on the size. I try for a 1:1 tomato to tomatillo ratio. Like I said about exactness just a second ago, it’s not important. Having more or less of one or the other will not ruin this recipe.
3. Serrano chili peppers. Don’t be scurred, this salsa is not meant to scar your taste buds so they never trust you again…I promise. Serranos look a lot like jalapeno’s slimmer, taller cousin with better taste. I would like you to pick out the 4 prettiest ones you can find. Just like I said about the tomatillos, you’ll want to avoid any that appear wrinkled, bruised or pitted.
4. Cilantro. No, you cannot substitute with parsley or any other herb for that matter. I don’t know what the heck chef’s are thinking when they write a recipe and say they this herb can be substituted with something else. It’s a completely different herb, with a completely different flavor. It’d be like telling someone that it’s fine to substitute sugar for salt. It just doesn’t make sense. I digress. I need you to choose 1 bunch of cilantro. Again, the prettiest one you can find, avoiding ones that are wilted or bruised.
That about does it for the market…let’s take it back to the house…
At home, you will need the following:
4. A medium pot.
6. A blender.
8. A big soup spoon.
9. A fork.
That’s it. That’s all you need. Now doesn’t all that wonderful produce you just bought look lovely?
Okay, enough with the produce admiration. Let’s continue with our tomatillo lesson. This is what a single tomatillo looks like up close, in it’s husk. I’ve been told that I need to note that I have small little midget hands, so the tomatillo you’re looking at may appear larger than it really is. Consider this fact duly noted.
This is what the same tomatillo looks like naked. See, I told you it looks like a green tomato. Notice that the skin is smooth and shiny. That’s the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it. Uh huh, uh huh.
This concludes your lesson in tomatillos for today. We will now return to your regularly scheduled Wreck…
Now, here is how you make the salsa:
1. Remove the husks from all tomatillos
2. Remove any stickers or stems that may have traveled along with your tomatoes.
3. Pull off the stems from your serrano chile peppers
4. Place your tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers in one medium pot, like so…
5. Fill the pot with water until the produce is just covered, and boil on high for about 15-20 minutes. What you’re looking for is the tomatillos to turn a dingy, split pea soup color and more importantly, you’re looking for the skin on your tomatoes to be peeling off, like so…
6. Now that your tomatoes are shedding their skin, grab the pitcher of your blender and set it next to your pot. With your big soup spoon, fish out one of your tomatoes. Now, using your fork, peel off and remove the skin from the tomato and discard. (I normally just drop it back into the pot…it’s not an issue, I promise.) When your tomato is properly naked, place it in the blender pitcher. Repeat for all of your tomatoes. No, you do not need to do the same for the tomatillos.
7. Fish out all of your tomatillos and place in the blender also.
8. Add ONE of your serrano peppers. Just one. Trust me. Spiciness can vary tremendously among individual peppers, so we play this one by ear. Try one, and if it’s not spicy enough, add another, and so on. If you’re feeling extra cautious, you could cut them in half and add them halves at a time.
9. Set your blender pitcher back on its base, put the lid on (this part is important…unless you prefer to wear your salsa or have been toying with the idea of painting your walls with salsa.) and pulse until it looks similar to this:
10. Now, like I mentioned before with the chile peppers, add one at a time. Pulse the blender in between additions, then taste. Here, you’re tasting for spiciness…you’ll be adding salt later.
11. Transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl.
12. Chop up your entire bunch of cilantro (just the leafy parts…we don’t want the stems) and stir into your salsa. You can play this by ear also…since I don’t know how big your tomatoes are, I don’t know exactly how much salsa you’ll end up with. If you use the same size as me, I used pretty much the whole bunch and filled a quart-sized mason jar with salsa.
13. Season your salsa with salt to taste. My momma says that the salt can help tone down the heat. Momma don’t lie…not even when she’s not telling the truth. That’s called tricking. But that’s a whole ‘nother post. (Love you momma-I hope I made you smile. If I didn’t remember that I’m your baby and you love me. )
14. Enjoy. I like mine on just about everything..chips, eggs, tacos, burritos…
Please refrigerate this salsa. You don’t want critters growing in it. It should keep, stored in an airtight container for about a week or two.
I wouldn’t be able to tell you for sure, because it doens’t normally last much for than a couple days…I must have a salsa-loving mouse in my fridge because it disappears…
I hope that you enojyed this week’s Wreck. Lord knows I enjoyed blowing your mind, teaching you that salsa comes from your kitchen and not a jar.
Next week, we leave the kitchen. Guess where we’re going next?? Stay tuned to find out!