Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fresh tomato salsa

One of the joys of my job is that I get to work with several accomplished cooks. I'm always open to learn new recipes and cooking techniques.

Although several residents have extensive restaurant experience, one resident of Mexican heritage leaned to cook from her paternal grandmother. "Laci" is is one of four ladies who cook in my place on the weekend and when I take a day off.

Last Tuesday morning, Laci approached me and asked if she could make a fresh tomato salsa for lunch. I quickly said yes. Not only would the residents enjoy a spicy salsa with lunch, it would give me a chance to watch her.

Laci placed four larger tomatoes and three jalapeno chilies into a medium-hot skillet. Over the next 20 to 30 minutes she frequently turned the vegetables as the skin charred.

Laci then threw six whole peeled garlic cloves in the skillet after she removed the tomatoes. The tomatoes by this time were soft and falling apart.

Once the garlic was lightly browned, Laci transferred the vegetables to the blender bowl. She added one chopped onion, the juice of one lemon and salt before processing the mixture into a fine salsa.

When I tasted the salsa, its clean, spicy flavor impressed me. Laci's salsa is reminiscent of the salsa served at better Mexican restaurants in Northern California.

"I make this salsa the way my grandmother taught me to make it," said Laci. I invited her to prepare chili verde next time that I purchase a Boston butt.


5 medium tomatoes
2 jalapeno chilies
6 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, chopped large
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 limes, juiced
Salt, to taste

Char tomatoes and jalapeno chilies in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat. Add garlic after about 15 minutes. Be careful not burn garlic as it will impart a bitter flavor.

After tomatoes and chilies are soft and skin is brown, toss in food processor or blender bowl. Add onion, cilantro and lime juice. Possess to desired consistency. Season with salt to taste.


  1. Did Laci remove the charred skin before she blended it up?

  2. She didn't ... but you'll have to make your own judgement call. If the shin is backened, peel it and toss.