My favorite salsas!

Football season is quickly approaching, and that means one thing (well to me anyways!) Football snacks! I love spending time in the kitchen with our family and friends on football Sundays enjoying drinks and preparing easy bites and meals for our crew. And one of the things that I enjoy preparing the most are salsas!

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There are so many different ways to prepare salsas, but I tend to stick with just a few recipes that get good results each time:

1. A fire roasted tomato and herb salsa with vinegar and cilantro (served alongside chips for dipping)

2. A very simple fresh tomato salsa with cherry tomatoes, green onions, jalapenos, and lime (usually served alongside chicken or fish tacos)

3. A complex salsa verde with roasted tomatillos, jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, and onion (slightly more time consuming, but well worth the effort)

4. The Pioneer Woman’s restaurant style salsa (delicious! but makes a huge batch. Better for feeding a large crowd)

Now, perhaps I should have split these recipes up into different posts, but I for one like to go to one source as much as possible to get information and recipes, so I figured that I would make it easy for all of you! You’re welcome ;)

I will start out with the fire roasted tomato and herb salsa. This salsa is ready in just minutes. I simply throw all the ingredients together in my food processor, pulse a few times, and voila the salsa is complete! This recipe was adapted from my girlfriend’s migraine-free cookbook, so if you are the sort of person that needs to stay away from onions because of migraine related problems, then this recipe is for you, since the onions are replaced with milder shallots. I’ve also strayed from the original recipe by replacing the basic canned diced tomatoes with fire roasted canned tomatoes, which add a more complex flavor. I throw in cilantro by the handful, since I personally LOVE cilantro, but feel free to use less if you aren’t inclined to cilantro. It is the perfect dip for serving alongside tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Fire Roasted Tomato and Herb Salsa
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes (preferred: Hunt's)
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 clove garlic, diced
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt, more to taste if needed
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro, more or less to taste
  • ½ tsp dried oregano, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times to reach desired consistency (I usually pulse about 8 times) and chill to let the flavors set in. Serve as desired, or alongside tortilla chips.

The second recipe up is the simple fresh cherry tomato salsa, similar to a pico de gallo. It’s also incredibly easy to prepare, and can be a great recipe for using up any late summer cherry tomato harvests. I typically use this salsa when I’m cooking. It goes ideally on fish or chicken tacos,  pairs perfectly with morning eggs, and is a wonderful topping for grilled salmon.  This is one of those recipes where it’s incredible how much flavor can be achieved by using a few simple ingredients. I encourage you to give it a try in your next meal that needs that little extra “something”. Feel free to make it as mild or spicy as you like by choosing to either keep or remove the membranes and seeds from the jalapeno! Enjoy!

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Simple Cherry Tomato Salsa
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ small jalapeño, finely diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside until ready to use.

Third up is my new personal favorite, salsa verde! In fact, I just made a fresh batch the other evening and have been enjoying it each day since! Disclaimer: this recipe is much more involved than the previous two, but well worth the time and effort if you’re willing to take the extra steps!

Salsa verde is made using fresh tomatillos (aka Mexican tomatoes). If you’ve never bought a tomatillo before, they are the small green tomatoes found near the red tomato display, with a thin papery husk attached. They have a tart, slightly bitter flavor, and should be bought firm and bright green for freshness and taste. They also have a sticky, sappy coating underneath the husk which can be easily washed away before prepping or cooking.

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One of the key steps in this recipe is charring the tomatillos, onions, peppers, and garlic. This adds a delicious, complex flavor to the salsa. It’s recommended to char the ingredients on a grill, however I chose to char the ingredients inside on a dry grill pan.

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After dark spots appear on all sides, add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. It’s at this point that the added step sets in. The salsa is then added to hot oil and cooked down with lime juice and chicken stock. It’s this wonderful step that makes all the difference. Try it. You will be glad you did!

This salsa makes a great accompaniment for chicken, fish, steak, or vegetables, or can simply be eaten alone with tortilla chips. It can be made a day ahead, let to cool, and then chilled. Enjoy!

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Salsa Verde
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 lb fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed
  • 1 small onion, quartered through root end
  • 3 to 6 serrano chiles or 2 to 4 jalapeño chiles
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp (or more) sugar
  • Coarse kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp (or more) fresh lime juice
Instructions
  1. Prepare grill or grill pan (medium-high heat). Thread garlic onto skewer. Grill garlic, tomatillos, onion quarters, and chiles until dark brown spots form on all sides, about 9 minutes for onion, 6 minutes for tomatillos and chiles, and 4 minutes for garlic. Cool. Peel garlic.
  2. Trim core from onion. Scrape some of burnt skin off chiles; stem. Seed chiles for milder salsa, if desired.
  3. Coarsely chop onion, chiles, and garlic. Transfer tomatillos and all vegetables to blender. Add cilantro and ½ teaspoon sugar; puree until smooth.
  4. Season to taste with coarse salt.
  5. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over high heat. Carefully add tomatillo mixture (juices may splatter). Stir until slightly thickened, stirring often, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add broth and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until mixture measures 2½ cups, about 10 minutes.
  7. Season to taste with salt and more sugar and lime juice, if desired.
  8. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then cover and chill.

Last, but certainly not least is a salsa that I love to prepare when entertaining larger crowds, since this recipe yields a large amount of salsa! It’s really a nice and fairly simple combination of onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapenos. I will give fair warning though, that if you follow this recipe to a “T”, the outcome is a pretty spicy salsa, so if you are feeding children (or just prefer a milder salsa), you may want to either opt for both of the Rotel cans to be “mild”, or make sure that you take all the seeds and membranes from the jalapeno.

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Photo obtained from The Pioneer Woman website

One of the main differences between this salsa and the first is that this recipe omits vinegar, which is a bit of a debated topic on the salsa front. Vinegar not only adds an acidic, salty component to salsas, but it also intensifies the heat of any added peppers. It also can help to increase the shelf life of the product. However, vinegar can also add an unpleasant bite to the salsa, which is off-putting to some people. I’ve personally found that the males in our football watching group tend to prefer this salsa, while the females prefer the first :) Only way to know is to try them both and decide for yourself. Enjoy!

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Photo obtained from The Pioneer Woman website

Restaurant Style Salsa
 
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Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
  • 2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies, mild or original)
  • ¼ cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin (membranes and seeds removed, if necessary)
  • ¼ tsp Sugar
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Ground Cumin
  • ½ cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)
  • ½ whole Lime, Juiced
Instructions
  1. Note: this is a very large batch. Recommend using a 12-cup food processor, or you can process the ingredients in batches and then mix everything together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you'd like---I do about 10 to 15 pulses.
  3. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.
  4. Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.

 

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