Saturday, April 16, 2011

Salsa Fresca for Pasadena

Tomorrow we’re going to our monthly gathering at the Pasadena archery range. It’s nothing formal, just a bunch of friends who get together to practice somewhat primitive art in various forms.

Some people work on bows, some on arrows, a couple people will usually flint knap. There are always folks working on and throwing atlatls. We have folks interested in fiber arts and at least one very talented bead worker.

We never go hungry at these gatherings because someone is always bringing stuff to munch on. It may be a tray of cupcakes, jugs of homemade pineapple drink, cookies, homemade cheese, or a big jar of pretzels from Costco. There’s always something.

I thought it’s been some while since I made salsa so at the store yesterday I gathered up the ingredients. I want to make a decent sized batch so I can take it to Pasadena to share with everyone.

Tomatoes, I used Roma tomatoes this time but they’ll all work.
Anaheim chilies
Poblano chilies
Jalapeno chilies
White onion
Salt, spices

How much of each one to use?
Well, this is going to frustrate some people and I’m sorry for that, but I make salsa by look and taste so I don’t have specific measurements. It’s kind of chancy to do it this way. A couple times I’ve put in too many chilies and had to run to the store to get more tomatoes to even out the tomato/chili ration. This time I almost used too many tomatoes but stopped cutting them just in time.

Making this salsa isn't difficult. The chilies are fire roasted and that takes a little bit of time but for the rest you pretty much just chop everything up and mix it together.
It's really easy to fire roast chilies on the kitchen range but since I had a pretty good amount of them I used the gas bbq on the patio.
As the chilis came off the grill I put them in a plastic shopping bag so they'd continue to steam and cook. When they cooled off enough to handle I peeled the skin, removed the stems and seeds, and chopped them up. Be sure not to rinse the chilis in water as you peel them. Doing so washes away a lot of the wonderful flavor.
The Guerilla Chef has a great tutorial for roasting chilies and he remembered to take pictures (I forgot when I did mine).

Here are the pictures I did remember to take...

Why yes, I do like garlic...

White onion...

I cut a corner on the jalapenos and roasted them in an iron spider on the range. I didn't peel the jalapenos but did remove the stems and seeds before chopping them.

Freshly fire roasted Anaheim chilies and Poblano chilies...

Readying the chilies for dicing by removing the stems and seeds. I've already peeled them at this point.

The bowl of diced chilies...

By this point I've already gone to the biggest container I have short of a 5 gallon bucket. I just need to finish by chopping the cilantro and adding salt, chili powder, and ground coriander.

Oh, yeah... lime juice, too. I didn't use all these, just to taste.

Done and ready to eat. I hope everyone enjoys it tomorrow.

Something to keep in mind when taking on a project like this: you've got to have good tools!
That means a knife designed to chop and dice and the knife has to be sharp.
Cutting tomatoes can be frustrating if your knife isn't sharp. Cutting this many tomatoes with a dull knife is begging for a slip and an injury.
The chef's knife is probably my most used tool in the kitchen. I keep it sharp because it works better that way. If you've got dull knives your time in the kitchen isn't going to be nearly as enjoyable as it could be. 
Thanks for reading! 
Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

WOW!!!!! You did an awesome job on roasting those chiles! You did a great job on that salsa! Looks great! I like the way to chop everything fine. That shows a lot of heart and soul into the food.

Guy Taylor said...

But that's the only way to make food, with your heart and soul!

Seriously, this batch turned out pretty good. It wasn't so hot that the kids couldn't eat it but it had just enough bite that the jaded salsa eaters could enjoy it. At the end of the day there was a bare tablespoon full in the bottom of the container. Just enough for me to fill two chips before rinsing it out. That's how I measure success: when there isn't any left to take home.

Thanks for your compliments, GC. I wish I you could have tried it.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could have tried it, too! Man, you'd love green chile roasting season here! Hot, fire roasted chiles right out of the roaster. Just sprinkle on some Himalayan Pink Salt or Hawaiian Red Salt and eat them like that. I'm going to try them with some fish sauce sprinkled on this season. I'm counting my chiles before they're roasted, LOL! It isn't even Summer here yet!

Anonymous said...

Gee, what am I saying! I just roasted Poblanos on the barbeque two days ago! I'll need to roast more and try them with fish sauce.