Today’s post is about salsa. Not any old salsa but a salsa loaded with fire roasted veggies. Absolutely delicious, too. Since football season is here, you definitely need to try this while watching your favorite team on Saturday/Sunday. If you’re not a football fan, you need to try this anyway on any day you feel like it.
We were at the farmers markets this past weekend loading up on fresh veggies. The tomatoes right now are simply beautiful. Lush, round, vibrant red globes full of juicy brightness and flavor. Just looking at them brings a smile to my face. Chiles are also now coming into season and we all know Baby Lady & I are chileheads. Then there is the organic sweet yellow and white summer corn, and fresh onions. The list just goes on and on. I love the summer’s bounty.
As we were buying all of these beautiful veggies, I couldn’t help but want to make salsa. You see, I am a salsa fiend. If you haven’t noticed, we use salsas in a variety of ways. I could also live on tortilla chips and salsa. The combination is probably my favorite snack and it’s own food group. I generally don’t eat chips and salsa because I can’t control myself. There is no stopping with one, or two, or three…. It’s not too bad when we’re home because, first, I generally don’t buy or make tortilla chips because I know my weakness. Second, even if we do buy or make tortilla chips, I’m busy cooking and getting everything ready for dinner. As such I don’t have time to do a lot of snacking. When we go out for Mexican food, however, it’s a completely different story. They always have an endless supply of salsa and chips that are set in front of you as soon as you sit down. I just can’t help but eat them, the vast majority of them, as we wait on our dinner. Inevitably, they bring a second and sometimes a third serving of chips and salsa as I munch merrily away. I really am in heaven. Then, I eat whatever I ordered for dinner. When we are finished, you have to get a wheel barrow to roll me out of the restaurant. We go home and I moan and ask Baby Lady why she let me eat so many chips and salsa. It’s gotten so bad that, now, Baby Lady actually places the chips and salsa out of my reach and portions them to me. Seriously.
Part of my fixation on chips and salsa is I love the saltiness of the tortilla chips coupled with the natural sweetness and heat of the salsa. Everything is in balance with a good salsa and there is an immense variety of salsas. They are versatile, too. Indeed, you have salsa roja, “red salsa,” made with cooked tomatoes, fresh chile peppers, onion, garlic, and fresh cilantro. Then, there is pico de gallo, “rooster’s beak,” also known as salsa fresca, salsa picada or salsa Mexicana, made with fresh, raw tomatoes, lime juice, fresh chile peppers, onions, cilantro leaves, and other coarsely chopped raw ingredients. Salsa verde, “green salsa,” is a tomatillo based salsa with Serrano chiles, garlic, onions and seasonings (my recipe found here). Salsa negra, “black salsa” is a very spicy Mexican sauce made from dried chiles (typically chipotle chiles), oil, garlic and salt. There is salsa ranchera, “ranch-style salsa” made with roasted tomatoes, various chiles, and spices. Salsa brava, “brave salsa,” or salsa for the brave of heart, is a very spicy salsa made with roasted garlic, onion, Serrano chile and vinegar. Salsa macha (recipe found here) is another very spicy salsa made with dried chiles, nuts, garlic, vinegar and oil. Then we have corn salsas (recipe found here, here and here), mango salsa (recipe found here and here), peach salsa (recipe found here). Last, but not least, we have mojo de ajo, “garlic salsa” (one of my absolute favorites, recipe found here) made with garlic, chipotles in adobo, salt and lime juice. The only limitation on how to make a salsa and what to put in it is your imagination and what you can find at the market. It’s just that simple.
Now, this salsa is a little different from the other salsas we have posted because all of the ingredients are fire roasted on the grill. Fire roasting adds an added depth of flavor to the salsa with the roasted flavors and char from the grill. You get a nice chunky, rustic salsa full of flavors with a touch of heat from the New Mexico hot green chiles. You can eat this with a spoon but a chip works well, too. :) This is what we did.
- 1 ear organic/non-GMO sweet summer corn
- 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
- 1/4 cup roasted hot New Mexico green chiles
- 6 large garlic cloves, still in skin
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 qt cherry tomatoes
- salt, to taste
First things first, fire up the grill. Using charcoal or wood adds a nice touch to this salsa but 1) it’s hot; 2) the gas grill is so much easier; and 3) unless you are serving this salsa as a condiment to a grilled meat (nice way to serve it by the way), it’s a waste of charcoal/wood. So, I used our trusty gas grill on this.
After getting the grill hot, place the garlic on a grill plate and place in the grill directly over the heat.
The garlic take a little more time than the rest of the veggies, so I like to do them first. Close the cover of the grill and let the garlic roast for 3 – 5 minutes. When the skins begin to darken, turn them over and continue to cook another 3 minutes.
Remove the garlic from the grill. This is what they look like when they are done.
Now, place the tomatoes and onion in the grill pan and the shucked corn on the grill directly over the flames. Roast the veggies until nicely charred.
While the veggies are roasting, peel the garlic.
Place the garlic in a food processor.
When the veggies are finished roasting on the grill, add the tomatoes to the food processor
along with the roasted New Mexico chiles
Pulse to form a chunky puree.
Pour into a mixing bowl.
Now, hand dice the onions. I like the onions chunkier, about the same size as the corn. So, this eliminates using the food processor for the onions because it will chop them to finely.
Add the onions to the puree
and now the cilantro.
Stir to incorporate and adjust seasoning, as necessary.
Pour into a serving vessel surrounded by tortilla chips. Serve & enjoy. I ate 75% of these and was lucky enough to get a photo of them before they were gone.