Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Salsas!

Ok, so I had this great bottled green salsa last night that P wanted to try (it's the Pace tequila lime one, of their new line) and it reminded me that at least here in Texas, salsa can be a pretty important thing. So I thought I'd give a few samples of the types of salsas I like to make. They range from not spicy at all, to pretty spicy. Enjoy.

Basil Salsa Verde

1 small shallot
1 small sweet yellow onion
24” sprig basil
.5 cup cilantro
2 garlic cloves
.125 teaspoon vanilla sugar
1 tablespoon cucumber or white vinegar
.25 teaspoon cumin
.25 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
.25 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups tomatillo
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Blend.

This salsa is sweet and not at all spicy. It's also super-easy to make, because you just toss everything in your blender and turn it on. I serve this mainly to people who have no tolerance for spicy foods, but it has a nice flavour as well.

Roasted Habenero Salsa

1 small white onion, sliced
6 roma tomatoes, cut into thick slices
1 bulb garlic
2 serrano chiles
1 jalapeno chile
1 poblano chile
1 habenero pepper
1 large green bell pepper
1 large shallot, sliced
Olive oil
Cognac or red wine vinegar vinegar
Salt and pepper

1 whole clove garlic
Large handful chives
2 sprigs mint
1 bunch cilantro
Oil and scrapings from roasting pan
2 tablespoons hempseed or olive oil
2 tablespoons cognac or red wine vinegar
Juice of 3 key limes (or 1 persian lime)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cumin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, then arrange onion, tomatoes, chiles, bell pepper and shallot on the pan. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. With clean hands, mix them up well to evenly coat with oil and vinegar. Roast. After peppers come out of oven, place in a bowl and cover. Let stand 15 minutes then peel chiles and remove tops (leave seeds). Wrap bulb of garlic in a square of foil. Drizzle with oil and seal foil package. Roast.

In a blender or food processor, combine roasted, cooled ingredients and remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and warm before serving, if desired. Makes 2-3 cups.

This salsa looks fairly complicated, but I promise it's not. It's a spicy, smokey kind of salsa with a broad flavour profile. Roasting the vegetables adds a bit of sweetness to it, balancing out the heat of so many chiles. Of the three salsas I'm posting today, this is by far the spiciest. If you feel like habenero might be a little much for you, take the seeds and membranes out after it's roasted and that will reduce the heat a bit.

Brazilian Pico de Gallo 2

2 tomatillos, diced
3 large roma tomatoes, diced
½ small red onion, diced
1 large jalepeno, minced
1 serrano, minced
3 chives, minced
½ cucumber, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
½ teaspoon cumin

Combine.

This is one of my favourite pico de gallo recipes. I love the addition of the cucumber and tomatillo, as it "freshens" up the recipe. I don't know if it's really right to serve a selection of salsas without including a pico de gallo, so here you go. This salsa is of medium spiciness. Not too hot, not too spiceless.

2 comments:

  1. Which one of those would be best for breakfast tacos?

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  2. I think it really depends on what you're looking for from your taco. Any salsa is better than no salsa when it comes to a breakfast taco, but if you're looking for a more traditional breakfast taco choice, I'd go with the habenero one.

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