This is archetypal salsa, made from tomatoes, green chiles, cilantro, and lime. But more than a mere mix of ingredients, salsa de molcajete uses centuries-old techniques to combine flavors, bringing out the best of each.

Ingredients

  • 6 plum tomatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Place the tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeños on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 16 minutes, turning after after 8 minutes. Cool and peel tomatoes and garlic. Combine the garlic and peppers in a molcajete, mortar, or bowl; pound with a pestle or the back of a spoon to form a paste. Add tomatoes, and coarsely crush using the pestle or spoon. Combine the tomato mixture, cilantro, and remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

Notes

Roasting tomatoes gives them a sweet and complex taste; rinsing onion under cold water makes it crisp; and crushing roasted garlic and chiles in a mortar releases their full flavor. Though it's typically done in a molcajete (Mexican lava rock mortar), you can also make this salsa using a marble mortar and pestle (as we did). Finely chopping the garlic and chile in a food processor then adding the tomatoes and pulsing the mixture until everything is coarsely pureed will yield great-tasting results as well.


December 2001

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: 23
  • Calories from fat: 12%
  • Fat: 0.3g
  • Saturated fat: 0.0g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.1g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1g
  • Protein: 0.9g
  • Carbohydrate: 5g
  • Fiber: 1.2g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
  • Iron: 0.5mg
  • Sodium: 106mg
  • Calcium: 10mg