Monday, May 14, 2012

Cinco de Mayo: The Salsa Compendium

Hand modeling and picture taking at the same time. I'm so very talented.
First impressions are of the utmost importance. As such, my salsa experience often dictates whether or not I like a Mexican restaurant. If a restaurant can have me doing a rough calculation of how many tortilla chips my stomach can handle before bursting, then that establishment will rate highly in my book. I want my dining experience to come with the shame of looking over and realizing you just demolished your third basket of chips before your drinks came. Luckily, we had resident salsa expert Faron on hand to help us perfectly capture both ends of the salsa spectrum with some of the finest red and green salsas this palate has tasted.
This man knows how to turn a tortilla chip into a powerful tool in your culinary arsenal.

Salsa Roja
Servings: Enough for a grand fiesta
Time: 30 minutes

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
3 Roasted Poblanos (tutorial here)
1 large tomato
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Handful of cilantro

  1. Roughly chop everything and add it to a pot. 
  2. Cook until the veggies soften (10-15 minutes). If it's overly liquidy, bring to a simmer and let reduce.
  3. Mix in the olive oil and puree in a blender.
  4. Let cool then stuff your face using convenient tortilla shaped transportation tools.
Kevin, our floor and my t-shirt learned that the immersion blender should be completely immersed before turning on.
Roja caliente may have been a better description of this delightfully spicy salsa. The roasted poblanos and chipotles yielded incredible flavors and a memorable kick. Aside from gracing your favorite chip or taco, this salsa was tailor made to liven up a breakfast omelet or migas (which I made sure to test out the next morning.).

Salsa Verde
Servings: 4-5 cups
Time: 25 minutes

3 medium-sized green tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 tomatillos, cleaned and chopped
1-2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 small garlic cloves, minced
3 medium rip avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
4 sprigs cilantro
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream

  1. Combine the tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Add the tomato mixture to the avocados, cilantro and salt in a blender and puree until smooth.
  4. Pour into a bowl and stir in the sour cream.
Just when the red salsa had you sweating, the cool and creamy green salsa based on Ninfa's recipe was there to bring you back down with its splendid combination of tomatillos and avocados. This truly was an almost exact replication of the amazing salsa from Ninfa's (up next, we must figure out Chuy's creamy jalapeno salsa). Trying to pick a favorite between the two salsas proved impossible, so we loaded up our tacos with both and our stomachs thanked us for it. 

And now a brief intro to canning (Watch your feet because Kevin's about to drop some knowledge.):

If only he could knit too, Kevin would make the perfect husband for some lucky lady one day.

  1. Read the above paragraphs and make your salsa.
  2. Say "hot damn" after trying the deliciousness and decide you want to share it with all your friends through the magic of canning (note: please don't can the green salsa as the sour cream may prove less than pleasant afterwards).
  3. Boil the jars and lids.
  4. Add your salsa to the jars and wipe the tops off.
  5. Seal the lids and boil the jars for 40 minutes.
  6. Listen for the popping sound when you remove them from the water to know that they're sealed.
  7. Spread joy throughout the world.

Now they just need their Kevin's Crazy Canned Salsa Cans labels.

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