My salsa (dip, not the music or dance) is pretty popular when I make it. Mostly it’s the dedication I put in to it’s preparation (shrug).
You can go two routes with this. By hand, this will takes hours to prep. So, in the pictures, I cut to the chase on the jalapenos & tomatoes. This is also to show you the contrast look of the two. I like to mix up the cuts to give variety.
Decide whether you want chunky (garden “home” style) salsa, or the “everything fits on one chip” thin style. I, usually like (and hand cut) the everything fits style. This way each chip has all of the ingredients, each time (probably why it’s popular)?
Chunky, just dice everything, toss it together. Everything style, requires A) patience & a few hours while you thinly slice every ingredient to perfection
B) a chopper (“get [to] the choppah”) or blender
For speed, use the chopper/blender unit. Do note, that this will also add a little more liquid to your salsa.
I don’t “worry” about the pith, skin, nor the seeds. I cut it all in there. It’s flavor, it’s content, it’s good. You can cut around these, removing seeds & skinning if you’d like.
SUPER important is to use room temperature ingredients! There is a difference between the two. For those of you who have friends who “can’t tell the difference”, give them the jarred cheap stuff; they won’t notice anyhow ;}).
Next, & VERY important!!! Let this set. Leave it in the bowl for a few hours so everything blends together. Then pop it in the fridge for a couple days (put it in a ‘sealable’ container is fine). Don’t worry, I can’t wait that long either & start eating it right away, but this is one of those sitting dishes. That is, it activates after a couple days. Kind of like great spaghetti sauce, or when you make your own mustard (plug).
So, everything from the local farmer or produce stand (or big box store), rinsed off & clean, to be diced, chopped or blended into a salsa.
Core your tomatoes, cut off the ends on the celery, onion & so on. For the jalapenos, I like to slice off the tops, trim close to get it all, chop it all then put it in the chopper. I want the heat as well as the flavor distributed.
I like using the ceramic knife, but felt it was a little too thick for the real thin stuff I was working on. It did alright with the celery, but not so much with the rest. I did take the hone to it, albeit softly, to freshen it up, but just went to the knife that I know best. You can use what ever knife works for you.
Near the end, I was just chopping & using the hand blender anyhow. I want to have several sized pieces to go on the chip. Uniform is good for production lines, the military & some schools, but not always tasty in cooking.
I “splurged” this time & bought Cento brand, canned Roma tomatoes, as they are from my “favorite” mountain in history Mt. Vesuvius (San Marzano tomatoes). They taste just a little bit better & more like fresh, but at nearly three times that of other brands, some people may not want them. It wasn’t “something to write home about” (maybe an article), but adding them was fine.
The “regular” Hunts is fine, & has been for quite a few years. They really have improved over the years.
You may like another brand, that’s fine, use what you like. I used to like Contadina brand, but they aren’t as consistent as they once were, sometimes too acidic between two cans, & they just don’t have what it takes (currently or any more).
The rest is pretty much the ingredient list.
Very mild Salsa
3 large Roma tomatoes
1 large yellow onion
3 jalapeno peppers
2 large cans tomatoes diced (you can omit the canned & only use fresh)
1 stalk of celery minced or “razor” thin cut
1 medium Sweet bell pepper
3-6 stalks of green onions
You can (or should) re-hydrate these
1/4 C Parsley or Cilantro (parsley for those who don’t like cilantro) fresh is cool
1 heaping Tbsp dried onion minced (re-hydrated it’s a taste)
1 heaping Tbsp dried Thyme
1 heaping Tbsp dried Oregano
1/2 Tbsp dried Rosemary
This is where you start tasting & adding to taste
1-3 tsp cumin
6-8 Tbsp vinegar
1-?? Tbsp ground cayenne pepper (pulverized, powdered or whatever)
3 Tbsp black pepper
1/4 C salt to taste
1/2 ounce Powdered garlic add in small batches
1 can paste made into sauce or a can of sauce if you want it to have more sauce than juice
Sub notes: If you are using fresh Roma’s only, you aren’t going to get as much juice, as you would in canned tomatoes, so you’ll want to add some water. You’re going to re-hydrate your parsley & dried onions, so use about 3 ounces (to re-hydrate them), & work from there. Also, you may want to adjust the salt, as fresh isn’t nearly as salty.
If you do use canned tomatoes, you can skip the water by adding your “to be re-hydrated” seasonings to one can prior to adding it to the salsa. Give them about an hour or two to re-hydrate. Heating the contents will speed the re-hydration process up.
Notes, tips & alterations you may be interested in:
Usually, I make nearly a gallon batch of salsa. When I go that far, I will add some jarred salsa to it, to help preserve it longer, or freeze batches of it. I should can it I guess, but adding a jar of mass produced is faster than canning. The vinegar & salt, will “help it along”, but the preservatives in the jarred stuff, give it about a week longer (your mileage may vary).
Vinegar will separate, be sure to stir before serving.
You can put this in your Dutch Oven on ultra low & heat it. It certainly will bring the flavors together faster, but not full strength, that will take a couple days.
Double or triple the cayenne pepper if you’re going to serve it right away. You can use red pepper flakes if you would like, that’s fine. Refrain from using hot sauce, as they have a flavor all of their own. Cholula (brand) hot sauce may be ok, as (I believe) they use cumin in their recipe.
History channel also cool is there “documentary” movie/show on Pompeii.