Growing up, I watched my dad prepare a fair amount of authentic Mexican food. I was quite picky, though, and only tried certain things. (There was the time I finally tried guacamole – only to find that I’m quite allergic to avocado – that contributed to my picky-ness.) Last year, though, I finally decided to try his spicy salsa. I’ve never been a big fan of spicy things, but after I tried homemade curry with sriracha sauce, I knew that my taste buds were missing out thanks to my spicy aversion. So I tried my dad’s salsa.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Talk about flavor! This wasn’t like my homemade Pico de Gallo (which is still pretty dang good, if I do say so myself) – there was a smoky flavor that kept me dipping my chips, even though my mouth was on fire.
Recently, I was able to get my dad to show me how he makes his delicious salsa. Because he and I are “a little this, a little that” cooks, I watched him like a hawk, took pictures and asked him to measure stuff so I could share this with you.
Here’s what you’ll need for the recipe:
- 4 medium tomatoes, stems removed
- 2 jalapeño peppers
- ½ oz chile de arbol (less if you don’t like spicy – we used dried chiles)
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 – 3 tsp salt (find sea salt here)
- 1 tsp vinegar (find vinegar here)
- a few shakes of pepper
Wrap the tomatoes in foil so they’re all covered – I used two pieces. Turn on a stove burner to medium heat and place the foil packet of tomatoes on the burner. They’re going to roast there for about 30 minutes. I turned mine every 5 minutes or so. If you unwrap them and they’re not quite soft and mushy all the way through, roast them a few more minutes. When they’re done, try to let them cool all the way before you add them to the blender. (Finger burns are not fun).
While the tomatoes are doing their thing, wrap the jalapeños in foil and turn another burner on high heat. Roast them for 5 minutes, turning once. Now, pull all of the stems off the chile de arbol, discard stems, and wrap the chile de arbol in foil and put them on the high heat burner. Only allow them to roast for about 30 seconds.
Finally, wrap the garlic in foil and put it on the high heat burner for 30 seconds.
Now for the fun, and potentially messy part. Grab your blender and put in 1 ½ cups of water. Unwrap the garlic and chiles de arbol and put them in the blender. Open the jalapeno packet, cut off the stems and put the remaining pepper in the blender. Next, open the tomato packet, cut off any blackened pieces and add tomatoes to the blender as well. (Clean and save whatever foil you can for next time.)
Before you turn on the blender, add your salt (taste after it’s all blended and add more if necessary – we like our salt), a few shakes of pepper and 1 tsp vinegar. We use white vinegar. I’m sure you could experiment with other types if you’d like.
Put on the lid of the blender and turn it on. We start on low and then turn up the speed after everything has gotten mixed up. Let it blend for about a minute.
And that’s it!
This salsa comes out a lot in our house – paired with our favorite chips, drizzled over rice and beans and covered with cotija cheese or on top of eggs and potatoes (with some more cotija cheese, of course).
Enjoy! And don’t forget to tell us about your favorite homemade salsa below.