Venturing into old territory here. Salsa is the quintessential world famous sauce that has become one of the top condiments, with our without Mexican food around.
I mean, come on, admit it!
We've all dunked our potato chips in it. Maybe smeared it on a bread and added whatever toppings, put it on pancakes (YESS!! Check it out here)
Maybe its just me then.
Please tell me I'm not the only one who is quite obsessed with salsa!
Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, I do order nachos at a restaurant just so I can dip into their salsa. Those crisp nachos with melted cheese and this zingy fresh tangy, spicy salsa- translation: Yummyyy
So this time, instead of the salsa fresca that I usually make or the chunky pico de gallo, I tried taking to a whole other level. Nothing new, but omg.... what a revelation! Asada roughly translates to Roasted and this roasted salsa is really something else.
It has to be this salsa or nothing for me, now on. The bold, slightly charred flavour of the vegetables brings out the best in all of them. Intense, balanced flavours and a rich pulpy texture, I was in salsa heaven. Before I get carried away, here's how I went about it.
Serves: 3 cups
Time taken: 40 min including roasting time
6 ripe medium tomatoes
2-3 jalapeno peppers
bunch of coriander
4 garlic cloves
olive oil to drizzle
1 tsp oregano
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp sugar
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Red Chili flakes (Optional)
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 tsp cumin
Pre-heat your oven at 200C/400F
Quarter your tomatoes. Deseed the fresh tomatoes. In case you're using cherry tomatoes, use 3 cups and no need to deseed those.
Wash and dry your peppers. These are not jalapenos, but they are the local substitute for the same. Not much heat which is why I had to use cayenne and red chili flakes. Slice these roughly.
Cut the onions roughly into cubes. Take your baking tray. Line it with foil, makes for easier cleaning. Drizzle with olive oil- around 1-2 tbsp. Transfer the chopped vegetables to this tray.
Season with oregano and toss well. Make sure to add your garlic with skin on.
Place in the oven on the top most rack so the vegetables get charred on the top. Use your broil setting if you have it. This is just after 20 minutes in the oven. Depending on your oven this might take longer or lesser time. I could have raised the temp up to 250C, but I didn't want to completely burn the vegetables
The best part of this is the aroma that wafts through the entire house. The onions sweetly caramelised and slightly burnt, the peppers, the sweet tomatoes, the garlic thats turned to mush by now...party of flavours. Add this to a blender or food processor. Make sure you peel the garlic first. You can squish it out too if its reaaaaalllly tender. Mine was tender but it still held its shape (barely)
To that add your lime juice
Next went in the salt and freshly cracked pepper
And the freshly roasted and powdered cumin. It always renders a better flavour.
I then added about 5-7 stems of coriander leaves. Don't leave out the stems, they are filled with flavour! Give it a whizz. Pulse for a few times.
I always taste it around this time. Gives me a rough idea of the final product. I though it lacked the spice balance and I went ahead and added some cayenne.
Then to bring out the sweetness of the onions and tomatoes, I added in a tsp of sugar.
And to make it even hotter and spicier, I added just about a pinch of red chili flakes. SSSSSSmmokkkinnn!!
Pulse this a few times till everything comes down to the consistency that you like or a pretty coarse puree. I mean just look at this beauty! Those colours!! Those charred li'l bits add just smokiness and depth of flavour.... yummmmmmaaayyyy!!!
Any inputs on how I should use it next?! I usually cover this and refrigerate it for about 3-4 hours so the flavours can get to know each other better before serving.
Meanwhile, indulge in the goodness!!