How to Make Restaurant-Quality Salsa
Salsa has as many variations as there are stars in the sky. Some are raw, as simple as chopped tomato, onion and chili pepper tossed in lime juice and seasoned with salt and pepper. Some are made with roasted or grilled ingredients. They can be fancied up with everything from grilled corn to diced mango to chunks of avocado. Thick and thin, smooth and chunky, everyone has their preference.
For me, I only ever make a cooked salsa. I find the flavors of raw tomato and raw onion a bit overwhelming. So, I throw all my ingredients under the broiler to char a bit before making my salsa. And with a cooked salsa, you get to use your food processor or immersion blender to chop, which makes the prep super easy.
Here is my version of salsa. You can always alter it to suit your personal taste. I’m something of a lightweight when it comes to spicy, if you want more heat, add a second pepper.
Prep Your Vegetables
Decide if you want to do a red or green salsa. The only difference is that red uses tomatoes and green uses tomatillos. Tomatillos look like green tomatoes covered in a papery husk. If you want to use tomatillos, soak them in a bowl of water for 15-20 minutes to help the husk slide off and clean off the sticky residue it leaves on the skin and leave whole. For tomatoes, just wash and leave whole. Take one small white onion, peel and halve. Break off two cloves of garlic from a head and leave in their skin. Wash the outside of a serrano pepper.
Broil Your Vegetables
Arrange the vegetables on a sheet pan and preheat your broiler. Broil for 5-8 minutes, until you get some char, flip all the vegetables and remove the garlic. Broil the rest of the vegetables for another 5-8 minutes until well charred on that side. Remove from oven and let cool.
Make the Salsa
Coarsely chop the onion and add to the bowl your food processor or a large bowl. Remove the skins from the tomatoes or tomatillos and add to the bowl. Slice the top of the pepper off and remove as much skin as possible and add to the bowl. Remove the skin from the garlic and add. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the bowl and process to your desired level of smoothness, I prefer it a bit coarse. Taste and add salt and pepper to season to your taste. If you need more heat, you can add a dash or two of hot sauce. Cool to room temp before serving or store covered in the refrigerator.
The salsa will keep up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.