I love to cook. I grew up in Arizona about an hour from the border to Mexico. We have some pretty great Mexican restaurants and have plenty great fresh tortillas. Because of this Mexican cuisine is dear to my heart. I no longer live in Arizona. Where I live now it is hard to find even remotely decent salsa. What I can buy in stores here is basically ketchup and bell pepper. So I have turned to making my own! I experimented with a lot of different methods including roasting the ingredients in the oven, fermentation, pre-cooking the ingredients. They are good, but require a bit more time than I often have.
I remembered how the Mexican restaurants in Arizona usually put out free bottomless chips and salsa (I miss that). Their table salsa was varied but in many cases was not bad! So in my search I found recipes on how to make versions of restaurant salsa and was surprised by how easy it is. Go figure, it's the free table salsa after all.
I use this recipe 90% of the time as I can't be bothered to roast ingredients or char them over a fire for a quick salsa. This is a staple in my house and could be in yours too if you love the fresh taste of salsa on your eggs, chips, or meat dishes.
To be clear this salsa recipe is optimized for convenience, and ingredient storage. You can make a much better salsa if you want to invest more time, get fresh tomatoes, roast them, remove the skins etc.
Note: you will need a blender or food processor for this recipe.
- 1/4 Red Onion (can use white/yellow if you don't have red)
- 1 Can of peeled tomatoes (I prefer canned over fresh for storage and personally don't like the skins left from the fresh tomatoes and blanching and removing skins is too much work for this quick recipe)
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1 Fresh Jalapeno Pepper (Seeds removed) (canned/jar possible but not as good)
- 1 Lime (can use lemon but lime is better)
- 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt (then add more to taste if needed)
- Favorite Hot Sauce (optional)
- 1 Bunch of fresh Cilantro / Coriander
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Open your can of tomatoes or core and quarter your fresh tomatoes then add them to your blender
2. Wash thoroughly and roughly chop your cilantro. Add it to your blender.
Note: fresh cilantro often has dirt on it. I prefer to fill the sink or a pot with some water and wash the cilantro in it to really get all the dirt off and avoid any grittiness. Just be careful not to bruise the cilantro too much.
3. Peel and roughly chop your garlic. Add to blender.
4. Halve and juice your lime then add to your blender.
5. Halve your Jalapeno lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Add to blender.
Be careful in this step, if you have some gloves you could use them. Some spicy residue will remain on your fingers after handling the peppers so if you rub your eyes you could be in for some burn. You can leave the seeds in, but expect a very hot salsa! Jalapeno has a great flavor and will give a fresh zing to your salsa so is an important ingredient. Depending on the jalapeno, and your spice tolerance, the heat added by a seeded jalapeno is minimal, but the flavor is great!
6. Add your quartered red onion to the blender.
7. Add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce (optional)
I prefer a smokier chipotle hot sauce in this step to give a hint of that fire-roasted flavor without all the work. Or maybe mix it up with different hot sauces or none at all.
8. Add the salt and olive oil
9. Blenderize to desired chunkiness
10. Taste, most likely add more salt, pulse, taste add more salt until perfect
Salt balance is critical for a delicious salsa. The raw ingredients need ALOT of salt to start to pop. Like more than you feel comfortable adding.
Store the salsa in an old pickle or glass jar for up to 1 week in your fridge.
Pro Salsa Maker Tip: taste it with a tortilla chip! These are very salty so you will want to balance the saltiness of your salsa with the saltiness of the chip to reach the perfect salt level.
Some Variations: try adding a bit of canned chipotle peppers, canned fire roasted tomatoes, canned green hatch chilis or chipotle bouillon cubes! Try some other hotsauces and seasonings to find your own style, the above recipe is a great base to start with and then you can easily add more variety through experimentation.