Fresh Roasted Tomato Salsa
I really like good salsa with crisp, corny, tortilla chips. Mostly I like salsa because it usually means there’s fresh guacamole and an icy Margarita in my future. For years I bought salsa — all different kinds of salsa. Some delicious and some ordinary; some watery or way too oniony. Neither Ernie or I can tolerate raw onions any more. So, given it’s tomato season and I’m making batches of dry-farmed tomato confit weekly I started making fresh salsa. I use chiles from the Tierra Vegetable stand, the tomato confit made with Dirty Girl Produce tomatoes as well as fresh ones all bought at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market in SF.
The measurements are simply a directional map. Peppers vary greatly in heat depending on type, where they are grown, whether you use the seeds and veins, etc. You’ve probably heard of the Scoville scale, a systematic approach to measuring the heat in chile peppers. It’s a good guide but keep in mind that everyone’s palate and sensitivity to the heat-producing chemical capsaicin in chiles varies. Let your tastebuds be your guide. For variety add cilantro. Throw in a tomatillo or two. Soak some dried chiles, like chipotles, in warm water and add to the mix for a smokey riff.
This is a basic, but very satisfying medium hot salsa. If you like a very spicy salsa add another hot pepper like a serrano. Or if very bold add a habanero. Be careful handling very hot chile peppers. They can burn your fingertips and for goodness sakes don’t rub your eyes. I’ve even inhaled vapor from hot peppers that can send me into a coughing fit. For the very sensitive, wear rubber gloves. Be careful to wash the knife, cutting board and your hands when done.
3-4 fresh chiles- 1 jalapeño, 1 Poblano and 1-2 Anaheim peppers (red or green)
1/3 cup tomato confit
2 medium cloves of garlic
1-2 small, flavorful tomatoes, roughly chopped
1-2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Sea salt to taste
1. Roast peppers over charcoal grill or in the broiler. In London I put peppers on a long meat fork and grilled over the flame of my gas stove. The handle on my beautiful meat fork cracked so I stopped doing that.
2. Put whole unpeeled garlic cloves in a bit of aluminum foil and place on the grill with the peppers.
3. When peppers start to brown, even blacken a bit, remove from grill. Garlic should get brown.
4. Cut jalapeño in half and remove stem, veins and seeds. Repeat with poblano and the Anaheims. Roughly chop.
5. Put unpeeled peppers, tomato confit, peeled garlic, and roughly chopped fresh tomatoes in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop everything together. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and about a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Pulse twice and taste. Add more vinegar and salt to your liking.