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Monday, May 4, 2009

For Cinco de Mayo Eve: Fresh Homemade Salsa

Happy Cinco de Mayo Eve! I've never really celebrated Cinco de Mayo before (I took French in high school), but Bob and I love Mexican food, so I thought this was a great opportunity to post some of our favorite Mexican recipes!

I've already posted my favorite homemade salsa here, but for Superbowl back in January I decided to try out a new recipe I had seen on Annie's Eats. It just looked so good in her picture. I was skeptical that I would like it, especially since I was making it with winter tomatoes, but the Black Bean Salsa better watch out because this one is now vying for the title of my favorite salsa! It's so fresh tasting, and the flavors work so well together. It tastes like salsa from a really good restaurant. I also love the consistency, and the fact that it's SO easy to make - almost no chopping involved, and it's done in just minutes. If you like salsa, this recipe is a winner!

When I first made the recipe, I followed it exactly except I replaced half the amount of canned diced tomatoes with fire-roasted because I think they are SO good. I was really happy with the resulting flavor. I've made this salsa a total of 3 times, and each time I've tweaked it ever so slightly, and I think I've finally got the perfect balance for our taste. If you're sensitive to spice, scale back on the cayenne. We happen to think the spiciness is just right.

One note about the garlic: The original recipe calls for 4 cloves of garlic. The first time, I used 3 very large cloves and one medium-sized thinking you can never have too much garlic! It turns out, you can. It was way too garlicky. The overpowering garlic flavor is not necessarily apparent while you're eating it, but rather later that night . . . and at 3 am . . . and during breakfast the next morning. Each time I've made it, I've scaled back on the garlic and finally ended up thinking 1 clove was about right for us. You can always add more later. Just keep in mind that the garlic flavor seems to intensify over time when the salsa is stored in the fridge.

This salsa is the perfect accompaniment to so many dinners, many of which I will be posting in the next week or so. If you're looking for an excuse to celebrate Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, whip up a batch of this salsa - I promise you won't be disappointed!
Fresh Homemade Salsa

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and very coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, halved (or more to taste)
2 large or 3 small/medium vine-ripened tomatoes, seeds and juice removed
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained with some juice reserved
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
juice of one lime

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the jalapenos and garlic. Process until finely chopped. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.

2. Add all other ingredients to the food processor. Pulse in very brief pulses until the vegetables have reached the size you desire. Add reserved juice from fire-roasted tomatoes if needed to achieve desired consistency.

3. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats


  1. What a yummy salsa recipe! I love the cumin and red wine vinegar in it. Looks very addicting!

  2. There is nothing like a good fresh salsa. I'm going to have to try that recipe.

  3. I love how you used the fire roasted tomatoes along with the fresh, I'll have to try this. Your photo makes me want to dip some chips in there!

  4. Made this last weekend (along with the Chicken Tortilla Soup) and found it to be quite enjoyable. It had been awhile since I made fresh salsa and the flavors were beyond my memories of recipes past. I probably went a bit strong on the cilantro, since the local Mexican restaurant who makes my favorite salsa uses cilantro, and stuffing it into a measuring cup only to dirty another dish just seemed silly- I just eyeballed it and went with it. Everything else was by the book, and I wound up not adding any of the leftover reserved juice. Genius here hadn't used Pulse on the blender before- shhhhh! (I had an even sillier experience buying my jalapenos...)

    The flavors definitely come out and I was able to get the consistency I wanted- I've grown to prefer a finer blend rather than larger chunks with more liquid separation. The total amount made was equivalent to at least 2 grocery store jars, which pleased me, because it's easy to eat a jar by yourself while watching the Colts win. (hush on the last 2 games of the season!)

    All in all I really liked this salsa, and my sister's eyes popped when she tried it- not because of the heat, but rather the taste, although she's the type to eat a fresh jalapeno at every meal. One thing my taste buds seemed to tell me is it was needing a bit more sweetness. Maybe my brain is confused and it needs something else instead, maybe I'll do all fire-roasted next time, but because the final result was so fresh if I want to get closer to the restaurant flavor I need to tweak it a bit further. Not sure how to approach this, but will work on it the next time I make it. Thanks Meghan for this one, it definitely hit the spot.


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