I love salsa. I think most people do. I love it on good tortilla chips. Good salsa pure, simple, with just the right balance of flavors. The thing is I’m picky about my salsa. I don’t like the watery version you get from using fresh tomatoes. Nor the thick, gloppy version that takes over the whole chip. Both of these seem to be de rigueur in many jarred, and so-called “fresh” salsas in supermarkets and many restaurants, Mexican or otherwise. So I decided to do something about it. As I said, I’m choosy about my salsa. Don’t get me wrong; I love fruit salsas, and salsas with corn and beans have their place. I like chunky salsa, but not with tortilla chips. I like to taste the tortilla chips. I like their flavor and I want the salsa to compliment them, not obliterate their flavor…know what I mean? I don’t mind biting into a nice little bit of onion or cilantro, but other than that, I want it smooth. I want it to coat the chip, not run off, like the watery version does. So this is what I came up with. This version of salsa is fast, easy and delicious…I think you’re going to love it!
Mexican Restaurant-Style Salsa
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 3-6 cloves garlic
- 6-10 slices pickled jalapeño peppers
- 2 teaspoons pickle juice from the jalapeño peppers
- 3-5 teaspoons fresh lime juice (only freshly squeezed)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup tomato purée (I use Cento® because it’s just tomatoes)
- 1/2 cup very finely minced Vidalia or other sweet onion
- 1 small handful cilantro leaves, very finely chopped (about 3-4 tablespoons)
- pinch of sugar (optional—this is a matter of taste)
Put the tomato juice, garlic, peppers with their juice, lime juice, salt and cumin in a blender until completely smooth. Pour the mixture into a quart jar, add the tomato purée, onion and cilantro. Stir until combined. Taste and add additional lime juice, salt and the sugar, if you wish. Remember, the flavors will change slightly, and the heat level will tend to increase after the mixture chills. Cover tightly and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, but 3 or 4 hours is even better. This will keep for at least a week (I’ve kept it for 2 weeks and it was still yummy). This is not particularly spicy, but if you want spicy, kick it up with a chile powder of your choice, and guajillo powder is a great choice.
Mexican Restaurant-Style Salsa Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
Feel free to double this recipe. Add the salt at the end, but taste it first. This gets better after it sits for awhile, too. Salsa needs to rest and the flavors need to mingle and get all cozy with each other. Then grab a bowl, a bag of tortilla chips and dig in. Whether you decide to share, though The Goddess encourages a generous nature, is entirely up to you. The Youngest One likes it poured over burritos. In this case it’s chorizo and refried bean burritos. The Goddess never met a potato she didn’t like and she loves salsa on baked potatoes. Skip the butter, but sour cream…that’s another matter entirely. This is reasonably low in calories and a pretty nice vegetarian entrée for Meatless Monday. Life is good….