Thursday, August 18, 2011

CB Cooks: Quick Salsa de Chile Árbol

Of all the things I regularly make at home, I've probably made this more than any other. When I first started making it, I did it the traditional mexican way of toasting the chiles, and roasting whole tomatoes, onions, and garlic over an open flame... As great as that tastes, it's time consuming. This is the quick version, the simple recipe I use to make our weekly salsa.

What you need:

- A can of whole tomatoes OR fresh tomatoes (I use the ~20oz cans- tomatoes at the grocery store are hit or miss- did you know that most of the tomatoes you find at the grocery store are actually GREEN unripe tomatoes that are artificially colored red with gas!??!?)
- 1/4 large white onion
- juice of 1 lime
- garlic (~4-6 cloves)
- handful chiles (I use árboles, but you could really use ANY chile, like serrano, jalapeño, ancho, etc)
- handful cilantro
- a blender

whatever you do, make sure you use lime juice!
lemons and vinegar have NO place in salsa
Chiles de Árbol look like this (they are a kind of dried chile)

How you make it:

1) Put onion, lime juice, garlic, and chiles in blender, and blend (you might need to add some tomato juice to get it to spin)

should look something like this

2) Add handful of (washed) cilantro, blend (but not too much- if you blend the cilantro too long, your salsa will take on a very green tinge- still tastes great, but doesn't look as nice. And it's not as appetizing to those who aren't in love with green food.)

You could stop here and use it as
a marinade, or extra-concentrated salsa

3) Add tomatoes (including juice- if you want a chunkier salsa, leave out the liquid), blend

4) Add salt, pepper, cumin to taste - sometimes I do, sometimes I don't... Just depends on how the salsa tastes.

5) Eat right away, and refrigerate what you don't eat. WARNING - gets hotter as it sits, so keep that in mind when adding chiles.

Uses: Put it on everything! Great on chips, beans, tacos, enchiladas, chili, meat dishes; if you make it without cilantro and cook it, it goes from being a salsa fresca to a salsa cocida, with a completely different flavor

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