Sunday, June 10, 2012


I have a weakness for salsa.  I think it may run in my family.  I think it may run in humanity.  And, really, I'm okay with that.  I like all sorts of salsa, but there's always something about the stuff that you get before a meal at a real Mexican restaurant.  It's not specially flavored, it's not "extra chunky," it's just delicious.  This recipe is a lot like that.  Salsa from a jar may have more "stuff" in it, but this is straightforward, clean, and altogether addictive.

The nice thing about salsa is that the ingredients are eminently variable, so if you don't have or don't like something, you can probably work around it.  Here's what I used, but adjust as you see fit: one large can whole peeled tomatoes, two cans original Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chilies, one bunch cilantro, a couple of  small Jalapeno peppers, one large green bell pepper, the juice of two limes, one large sweet onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a bit of sugar, plenty of cumin, some smoked paprika (not pictured - oops!) and some salt.

This recipe is very, very easy, and this first step is most of the work.  Start by chopping up all of the fresh vegetables: the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic.  The blender will finish the job, so don't worry too much about the size or uniformity of the chop.

I like to make my salsa in the blender in stages so I can get the flavor balance just right.  Start by adding all of the chopped vegetables above to the blender along with the large can of tomatoes, sugar, cumin, paprika, salt, lime juice, and salt.  Basically, that's everything but the Ro-Tel and the Cilantro.  I do this so it's easy to adjust the spice level - the spice of jalapenos can vary, especially depending on how many seeds you have (assuming you left them in).  The spice from the Ro-Tel chilies is more or less consistent, so it's easy to add bit by bit to achieve the level of spice you're looking for.  I generally end up content after two cans - you may want anywhere from none to several.

Give everything a few pulses in the blender until it's fairly well-mixed, then taste and see how you're doing so far.  If you're like me, it won't be nearly spicy enough yet, and you may also have underguessed on how much cumin or paprika you want in there, as well.  Adjust the seasonings and start to add Ro-Tel about a half can at a time, pulsing the blender in between to mix.  Stop when you've reached your desired level of spice.

Once things are appropriately spicy, add plenty of cilantro and give it a couple of last pulses to chop and mix through.  The cilantro can't survive much time in the blender, so we add it last to keep it relatively intact.  Taste again and add anything you want more of, then you're ready to serve.

This recipe makes a lot of salsa, so it's easy to serve it in a variety of ways.  It's great on chips, in tacos, or in any recipe that calls for salsa as an ingredient.  Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator - but don't expect them to last long.  If  you have anything like my salsa addiction, you'll pull those leftovers out to finish off in no time.

Recipe: Salsa
Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: None | Difficulty: Easy | Yield: Approx. 2 Quarts

  • 1 large can (28 oz) whole tomatoes.
  • 2 medium (14.5 oz) cans Original Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Green Chilies
  • 1 bunch Cilantro
  • 2 small Jalapeno Peppers
  • 1 large Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 large Sweet Onion
  • 2 clove Garlic
  • Juice of two Limes
  • 1 tbsp White Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Salt
  1. Dice bell pepper, sweet onion, garlic, and Jalapeno peppers.
  2. Add diced vegetables to blender along with all other ingredients except Ro-Tel and Cilantro.  Pulse several times to blend.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Add a half can of Ro-Tel at a time and pulse to blend.  Taste and stop adding Ro-Tel when desired spice level is reached.
  4. Chop cilantro and add to blender.  Pulse to mix through.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate to preserve freshness.

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