Friday, November 7, 2008

Salsa 101

Submitted by Michelle

Living in Southern California for a large part of my life has helped to influence my love of salsa. Some of my friends make fantastic salsa (L-Dizzle, Stacey O. and Sylvie-D) but the salsa I enjoy the most is crafted from a recipe Tyler Florence (the hottie on the food network) makes along with a few tips that Sylvie-D gave me. I'm writing this entry for a friend who recently joined the CSA but doesn't know what to do with all the stuff in the box. Here's one idea for the onions, garlic, chiles, and tomatillos.

Tomatillos look like this and can be purchased at the grocery store. They can also have a purplish color to them, though I didn't know this until I started getting them fresh from the farm.

To make your salsa you will need:

tomatillos (8- 10 depending on the size)
garlic (1 or 2 cloves)
1/4 of a large white onion
1 jalapeno
cilantro (if it's handy)

I like to roast all the veggies in the oven. It adds great flavor and makes the process very simple, though you could also boil the tomatillos and jalapeno in water until they are soft. Be sure to take the husks off the tomatillos and then put everything (except the cilantro) on a cookie sheet like so:

In my picture I have lots of tomatillos because they are small (the ones in the grocery store are bigger), I also have very small onions so I put all 3 on the cookie sheet, and I'm using jalapenos and Anaheim chilies because I happened to have them in my box of produce. Nothing like using up what you have on hand.

Roast the veggies in the oven at 350 degrees until they are soft and the onion is slightly brown. You'll smell them as they are cooking and be so glad you chose the roasting method.

Once the veggies are roasted you have 2 options with the chilies: 1. Cut them open and take out the seeds for a milder spice/heat or 2. Leave them whole and get ready for a mouth full of heat when you eat your salsa.

Put all the roasted veggies into a food processor and whirl away! You may need to add a little water if the salsa is too thick, though the roasted tomatillos usually yield lots of liquid.

Season with salt and stir in chopped cilantro, if you desire. (I don't put the cilantro in the food processor - it makes chops it way too fine.) As you can see, I yielded lots of salsa, but that's because I was trying to use up all my tomatillos, onions and chiles.

Let cool and enjoy with some tortilla chips and a margarita! Or, if it's too early for a margarita, make a breakfast burrito using scrambled eggs, cheese and salsa.

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