Actually, this whole past weekend has felt like one big party. One of my dear friends had her wedding reception on Friday night (soooo fun!), then my parents came to town to do birthday brunch together with Barclay and his folks (absolutely lovely), after which we all came back to my place and made homemade salsas all afternoon (yessss), followed by a birthday dinner with B at this new ramen place I’ve been wanting to try (pretty good!), then we partied it up at another wedding on Sunday (where we totally waited in line to have this done at the reception)…and, well, I think it’s safe to say that 32 ended on a high note.
And I’m feeling extra-thankful for this life, and for all of these special people I’m lucky to have in mine, and for all of these wild and wonderful moments we keep getting to share together.
I am indeed a very lucky 33-year-old duck.
So to celebrate, I’m having everyone over to mi casa tonight for my idea of a perfectly well-balanced meal after work — a chips-and-salsa-a-thon! I’ve whipped up a bunch of my favorite homemade salsas, and then picked up some of my favorites from restaurants around town, and then my awesome friends are bringing a bunch of their favs to share as well. And I can’t wait. Oh, and Barclay’s getting off work a little early to come and help me juice a few dozen limes to make an epic batch of homemade margaritas, so we’ll have the fruit side of the food pyramid covered too. ;)
So it only seemed natural to share one of my favorite salsa recipes with you, which will be making an appearance tonight. It’s super quick and easy to make (under 20 minutes!), it’s chocked full of fresh tomatoes and veggies that have been roasted to perfection, and it’s always a hit at every party. It’s this yummy roasted tomato salsa recipe!
Believe it or not, this salsa was actually one of the first 10 recipes I ever posted on Gimme Some Oven, way back in 2009. And I think it’s safe to say it was probably one of the first 10 or so recipes I ever learned to make period. Because salsa and I go way back. And roasted salsa and I go way back, once a local Mexican restaurant owner in college tipped me off on how much extra flavor you can add by popping the main ingredients under a broiler.
That’s right, you don’t even have to let these slow roast for half an hour. Just pop your veggies (skin-side-up) on a baking sheet under the broiler for about 6-8 minutes until they’re nice and blistered and blackened, blitz them in a blender or food processor, and dive in. Preferably with your favorite salty tortilla chips. YUM.
A few quick tips though:
In-season ripe tomatoes make this salsa. If you happen to come across this recipe in the dead of winter when those watery, flavorless, sad little Romas are the only thing available at the grocery store, I’d actually probably refer you to using fire-roasted canned tomatoes in this salsa recipe instead. Canned tomatoes are usually packaged at their peak of freshness, and will probably be more flavorful. But if it’s summertime and the in-season-tomato-buyin’ is easy, then turn on that broiler and get ready for that classic sweet and smoky depth of flavor you can’t get from just blending everything up fresh. You won’t regret it.
Don’t get scared by the blackened char marks. You want them to look burnt, so leave those tomatoes and veggies under the broiler (keeping a close eye on them) until they’re nice and deeply blistered. The more marks, the more flavorful.
If you’re feeling patient, let the roasted tomatoes and veggies cool before mixing them with the remaining ingredients. This way, the cilantro will stay fresh and greener longer. But if you’re feeling hungry or impatient, do what I do and just immediately toss everything in the food processor and enjoy that roasted salsa nice and warm. It’s just as good. ;)
If you’d like this to be even smokier, add in a chipotle chile and a teaspoon of adobo sauce. Or feel free to blister up and add in any of your other favorite chiles to the mix instead. And of course, if you’d like a spicier salsa, just add in another jalapeno with its seeds.
1 large white onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 large jalapeño, cored* and halved
1 large handful fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Preheat broiler to high.
Arrange the tomatoes (skin side up), garlic cloves, onion and jalapeño (skin side up) in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Broil for 6-8 minutes, or until the tomatoes and jalapeños have blistered and blackened pretty thoroughly on top.
Remove pan from the oven, and peel and discard the skin from the garlic cloves. Transfer the tomatoes, garlic, onion and jalapeño to the bowl of a food processor or blender. At this point (if you’re feeling impatient and hungry), you can either go ahead and add in the remaining ingredients and puree the salsa until it’s smooth while it’s warm. Or you can transfer the roasted veggies to the refrigerator and let them chill until cooled, then proceed with adding in the remaining ingredients and pureeing the salsa until smooth.
Taste, and season with extra salt or lime juice if needed. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
Jalapeño notes: I recommend 1 large (or 2 small) jalapeños for this recipe, but feel free to add extras (or leave the seeds in) for extra heat, or omit the jalapeño entirely if you prefer an even milder salsa.