There are many different kinds of salsas out there, but more often than not, for one person who is educated in “salsa literacy” there is just The One. When someone finds The One, they usually end up putting it on everything. For some people this might be Tabasco. For others, Sriracha, Tapatio, Cholula. You get the picture. We have The One for us, too. But we don’t go out and buy ours. We make it at home. And this recipe tells you how to do it.
Finding out which salsa will be yours takes time. You need to experiment. It’s kinda like dating. You gotta spread yourself around a little bit and maybe go outside of your comfort zone from time to time. Finding your salsa will require you to be in touch with yourself and really understand what you like to eat. Do you like bold flavors, or subtle complex ones? Do you prefer a fresh flavor profile, or a smoky one? Tart or sweet? Do you like your spicy food to tickle or tackle you? Your salsa should represent what you wish every food had, so that when you use it, it does!
Our salsa is made with a special little chile called a morita. Moritas are smoked jalapeños, just like chipotles are, but they aren’t smoked for as long. They still have some of that dark, smoky, sexy-ness that chipotles have, but they have also retained some sweetness from their fresher form. We like that they are balanced. We blend a lot them with charred tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices to make a light and smoky, slightly sweet and savory sauce. You best believe it’s in our fridge at all times.
- 5 ripe roma tomatoes, halved, divided
- ½ large onion, halved
- 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
- 6 morita chiles, de-stemmed
- 1 tbs. ground cumin
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- salt to taste
Note: Moritas aren’t exactly easy to find. You won’t find them at any standard corporate grocery store. You need to go to a Mexican market for these babies. For this recipe, use ones on the bigger side as opposed to the little uns.
Rehydrate the moritas by placing them in a microwave safe dish with enough water to cover. Microwave for 90 seconds then set aside.
Coat a non-stick pan with vegetable oil and bring to medium high heat. When the oil shimmers, add four halved tomatoes flat face down, onion, and garlic to the pan. Sear until slightly charred. When the tomatoes are golden, flip them over to char the skin slightly. Stir onions and garlic occasionally. When the tomato skins wrinkle, transfer everything to a food processor. Remove the moritas from the water and add them to the food processor. Add the cumin and vinegar. Blend until completely smooth. Put the mixture back in your pan and cook on medium low heat to reduce the liquid, about 20–30 minutes, stirring frequently.
When your mixture is paste-like, place it back in the food processor and blend in the last tomato you set aside. Keep the food processor running and drizzle the oil through the top to emulsify. Add salt to taste. If the salsa is still too thick, add some water. The desired consistency should resemble heavy whipping cream. Use immediately. Refrigerate any unused salsa for around a month, perhaps longer (trust your nose).
Yields one pint, plus a little extra.