5 May, 2017
Cinco de Mayo, Salsa Anyone?
A few months ago our “Cooking the Books” cookbook club reviewed a salsa and mole book and the members made recipes from the book to share at our meeting. Click here for that blog. At the time I didn’t make a traditional tomato-based salsa because in February (when that meeting was held) tomatoes were not in abundance in the stores and what was available were somewhat tasteless.
Here we are on the 5th of May, also known as Cinco de Mayo in Spanish, or cinque di maggio in Italian (in case you needed to know that). Why is this day celebrated? USA Today says,
Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day. Mexican independence is celebrated Sept.16. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French forces of Napoleon III on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla… Today, Cinco de Mayo has become more of an American holiday than a Mexican one.
Growing up one and a half hours from the Mexican border (I lived in Southern California up until 10 years ago) I knew about this holiday. My husband, on the other hand, grew up in upstate New York, so he didn’t have a clue what a taco was until he left home to go to college in Arizona. And when his sister visited us and I served Mexican food, she asked what refried beans were before they were “refried.”
So to celebrate Cinco de Mayo I decided to make salsa. After attending the Cooking the Books meeting in February where there were numerous salsas made and tasted, I settled on this recipe which is a combination of ingredients, complex flavors, and just the right thickness. What I learned from one of the men in the class was that he roasted most of the ingredients on his barbecue. I thought this was a great idea and did this too. Here is his ingredient list:
I roasted my ingredients on gas barbecue. I didn’t use all of Robby’s list this time, but may in the future.
Grilled vegetables in the food processor. A few pulses later, it’s salsa!
And wouldn’t you know, I didn’t have any tortilla chips on hand, so I had to make a few to taste test this recipe. But oh so willing to do that and worth it!
The recipe made one generous jar approximately 24 ounces.
After making this recipe a couple of times, I prefer pulsing veggies in the food processor more than the blender. It leaves the ingredients a little chunkier.
- 2 cups yellow cherry tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can fire roasted red tomatoes*
- 1/2 cup cilantro fresh
- 1 small yellow onion (or combination of yellow and red onion equal to about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Jalapeno peppers (1-3 depending on the level of hotness you want) I used 3 and it was a bit hot
- 1 lime juiced and zested
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- Generous dash of cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Cut vegetables into large chunks.
- Spray oil on foil or vegetable grill.
- Place vegetables you want to roast on foil or grill and cook until slightly charred. (Or skip this step if you don't want your vegetables grilled.)
- Pulse all vegetables and seasonings in a blender or food processor until the desired consistency.
- *Use fresh tomatoes when in season for a deeper flavor.
- If you want a sweeter salsa, add a few dashes of sugar.
- Best made the day before to let the flavors marry.