I grew up in New Mexico and Arizona, so I have a life-long connection to Mexican food. It's my favorite food. I like it spicy. It's the first kind of food I ever learned to cook. When we were very young (still in elementary school), my sister Nelda and I could prepare an entire Mexican meal of enchiladas and taquitos. It was kind of our sister specialty. Nelda made taquitos the last time we were together--a delicious comfort food from the past.
Today I'm sharing a salsa recipe that has amazing, deep roasted flavor; yet it can be thrown together in under 10 minutes. Salsa is a condiment that must accompany any Mexican meal. Plus, it's great for snacking. Hard to find a better or easier snack than salsa and chips. My sister and I like to dunk our taquitos in this salsa. Yum.
The recipe I'm sharing today is a simplified version of a roasted salsa that I normally make the "long" way--firing up the grill and roasting the chiles, and oven roasting fresh tomatoes, garlic and onions. When tomatoes and chiles are abundant in the farmer's markets in the summer, I can enough salsa to get us through the fall and winter. If you're interested in making roasted salsa from scratch with all fresh ingredients, here's that recipe. That post and recipe include canning instructions, too.
Today's post, however, is an easier version of my roasted salsa recipe that can be made in a fraction of the time by using good quality canned fire roasted green chiles and tomatoes. That way you get the fire roasted flavor and skip the time it takes to do your own roasting and peeling. Everything gets chopped in the food processor or blender, so it goes together really quickly.
Here's a short video that shows you how easy it is to make this salsa:
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients:
This salsa can be quickly made in either a food processor or blender. I'll show you how easy it is using both methods. So, take your pick.
Step 2. Add garlic to food processor. Process until minced.
view on Amazon: 14-cup Cuisinart Food Processor (rated #1 by Cooks Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen)
Step 3. Quarter the onion, slice the jalapenos and add them to the food processor. For extra heat, include the jalapeno seeds and membrane; for less heat discard them before slicing. Process until minced.
Step 4. Measure a loosely packed cup of fresh cilantro leaves; add them to the food processor. Don't mix yet.
Step 5. Add the canned green chiles and tomatoes. Don't mix yet.
Step 6. Add the lime juice and vinegar. Don't mix yet.
ABOUT THE VINEGAR: You can omit or reduce the vinegar, if you prefer. Me? I like the tangy flavor the vinegar contributes, but that's a personal preference. The strength of the vinegar taste will melow if you make and refrigerate the salsa 4-6 hours before serving. Overnight is even better.
Another benefit of the vinegar is that it acts as a preservative. If you use the full amount in the recipe, it extends the shelf life of the salsa to up to 2 (or more) weeks in the fridge. Without the vinegar, it should be eaten within a few days.
Step 7. Add the oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. (You can use regular oregano; but if you can find it, Mexican oregano is preferred.) Crushed red pepper flakes can be added if you want more heat.
Step 8. Now you can mix it. Pulse the mixture a few times until it's the chunkiness that you prefer. It doesn't take much, so use a light touch. I pulsed mine 5-6 times.
I like mine moderately chunky; but you can pulse it a few more times, if you like it smoother.
TASTE AND ADJUST THE SALT & HEAT: Give it a taste test and add some more salt if it needs it. If it doesn't have enough heat, add some red pepper flakes. Start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there. If I'm making salsa for a party, I usually divide the salsa in half and add some heat to some of it. That way I can serve a mild and hot version of the salsa.
Or, make it in a blender. It's just as fast and easy as using a food processor, so you can use whichever appliance you prefer. I usually use a blender for mine.
view on Amazon: my powerful 5-speed KitchenAid blender
Make ahead convenience. This is one of those recipes that tastes like it took a long time to prepare. But it is ready to eat, start to finish, in under 10 minutes. You can eat it right away, but it's even better the next day. So, make it ahead, if you like.
This recipe makes 5 cups. If that's more than you can eat, you freeze some of it. Or, it's easy to cut the recipe in half (1 can of tomatoes and green chiles instead of 2, etc.).
Serve this salsa with tortilla chips for an easy, crowd pleasing snack.
Here are links to my other roasted salsa recipes; they are made from scratch using fresh ingredients and require more time:
This post was updated 5/3/14.