15 September 2017

Recreating those great salsas from your neighborhood taco joint

...oh, you don't have a neighborhood taco joint?  Neither did I until I moved to northern Colorado, and my first trip up to the salsa bar was mind-boggling.  I've settled on three favorites, which I find work perfectly with everything from barbacoa to zucchini tacos or just dipping the chips you use to soak up your tequila-induced alcohol poisoning, and they're all quite simple to make.  Get to work on these recipes while you can still get fresh tomatoes and peppers from your garden or local farmer's market!

Creamy Avocado Salsa

3 ripe avocados
3 tomatillos
1 serrano chile
1 small lime
1 clove garlic
4 tablespoons Mexican cream or sour cream
6 tablespoons water
1 tsp salt

Pit the avocados and remove the flesh. Peel and wash the tomatillos. Remove the stem from the serrano chile. Peel the garlic clove. Squeeze the juice from the lime.

Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until very smooth. If the salsa is too thick to blend add water 2 tbsp. at a time until the salsa blends smoothly. Add salt if necessary.

Classic Pico de Gallo

4 fresh tomatoes
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1/2 a lime
salt to taste

Cut the tomatoes in half and gently squeeze the seeds and excess juice into a bowl. You can reserve this for soups or freeze into cubes in your ice cube tray for later use to add tomato flavor to anything. 

Dice the tomato flesh and add all other ingredients in a serving bowl.  Mix and salt to taste. 

Smoky Four-Pepper Salsa
8 ripe plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 poblano peppers
4 Anaheim chile peppers
1 jalapeno chile pepper, or more to taste
1 large green bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon mesquite flavored liquid smoke concentrate (optional)

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat.

Rub tomatoes with oil and grill for 10 minutes, turn. Place poblano, Anaheim, jalapeno chiles, and the green pepper on the grill. Grill 5 to 7 minutes per side, being careful not to let them burn. The skins should blister and brown. Remove tomatoes to a separate bowl. Place the chiles and pepper in an airtight container to let them steam while they cool so they're easier to peel.

Peel tomatoes and drain excess liquid. Peel and seed peppers. Place the tomatoes, chiles, green pepper, cilantro, vinegar, onion, garlic, and salt in the container of a food processor. Pulse 4 or 5 times. Add liquid smoke and more jalapenos if desired. Pulse until salsa as chunky or smooth as you like.

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