Sunday, October 04, 2009

SALSA SUNDAY starts with fresh, ripe tomatoes

Nothing is better for making good salsa than ripe tomatoes. Even better, home-grown ripe tomatoes. The bowl of deliious little romas at right came from the small back-yard garden tended by my daughter Ann Chihak Poff and son-in-law Curt Poff in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood. They are sweet and juicy, perfect for salsa.

My plan is to use them in a basic recipe, much like the very first Salsa Sunday entry here on Aug. 30, but with one key modification: I will roast the tomatoes and the jalapeños to give them a bit of a smoky flavor before dicing for the salsa. I call it salsa chipotle, although this recipe doesn't use genuine chipotles, which are smoked jalapeños.

Use your outdoor grill or broiler pan in the oven to roast a half-dozen ripe roma tomates and 2-3 jalapeños. Turn them every few minutes to get the skin blackened all around on both the tomatoes and the jalapeños. After they are blackened, put them in a plastic or paper bag and set in the sink so they create their own steam, for about 20 minutes.

Meantime, chop 1 white onion, 2 cloves garlic and grill them until they are tender. Fine dice them.

When the tomatoes and jalapeños can be handled, remove their skins, clean out seeds and fine dice them. Stir in a glass bowl with the onions and garlic, add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

For my taste, salsa that uses chipotles -- real ones or done the way I suggest doing them -- is best eaten at room temperature. It goes well with steak, fish and on tacos.

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