One-Minute Salsa

One-Minute Salsa

1/2 small serrano chile, minced
1/4 small red onion, peeled and root end removed
1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon table salt
pinch ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lime juice from 1 lime
2 small tomatoes (about 3/4 pound), ripe, each cored and cut into eighths, or one (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

Pulse all ingredients except tomatoes in food processor until minced, about five 1-second pulses, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. Add tomatoes and pulse until roughly chopped, about two 1-second pulses.

Fresh Tomato Salsa

Fresh Tomato Salsa

1 pound vine-ripened red and/or orange tomatoes (about 3 medium)
1 fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles
1/8 medium onion (preferably white)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Quarter and seed tomatoes. Cut tomatoes into 1/4-inch dice and transfer to a bowl. Wearing rubber gloves, seed and finely chop chiles. Finely chop enough onion to measure 1/8 cup and chop cilantro. Stir chiles, onion, cilantro, and garlic into tomatoes with sugar and lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Salsa may be made 1 hour ahead and kept at cool room temperature.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette

2 (1 1/2 – to 1 3/4-lb) acorn squash
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh hot red chile, with seeds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 450°F. Halve squash lengthwise, then cut off and discard stem ends. Scoop out seeds and cut squash lengthwise into 3/4-inch-wide wedges. Toss squash with black pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl, then arrange, cut sides down, in 2 large shallow baking pans. Roast squash, switching position of pans halfway through roasting, until squash is tender and undersides of wedges are golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.

While squash roasts, mince garlic and mash to a paste with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer paste to a small bowl and whisk in lime juice, chile (to taste), cilantro, and remaining 1/4 cup oil until combined. Transfer squash, browned sides up, to a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Salsa de Jitomate (Cocida) Cooked Tomato Sauce

I wanted to share a recipe we enjoy from one of Diana Kennedy’s cookbooks. If you’re not familiar with her she is to Mexican cooking what Julia Childs was to French cooking. She treats tomatoes and peppers dif- ferently in some recipes. In the following recipe she roasts the tomatoes and toasts the chiles. To roast the tomatoes place them whole (don’t core them) in a foil-lined pan under a medium-high broiler. You want them to cook through which should take about 20 minutes, so put them far enough away from the heat that they don’t burn up right away. It’s o.k. if the skins get good and black. For toasting the chiles she suggests putting them on a comal, which is a mexican earthenware heating plate placed over a fire. I use a cast-iron griddle on the stovetop. Any heavy saute pan should work. Put the pan on medium-high heat and toast the chiles in the dry pan, turning them frequently until they’re blistered and softened.

Salsa de Jitomate (Cocida) Cooked Tomato Sauce

3 medium tomatoes, roasted
3 chiles serranos, toasted
1/4 onion, roughly chopped
1 small clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 Tbs. safflower oil
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

Blend the tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic to a fairly smooth sauce, it should have some texture. Leave the core and seeds in the tomatoes, they add extra body to the sauce. You may seed the serranos if you’d prefer a milder, but still hot sauce.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan, add the sauce and salt and cook over a medium flame for about 5 minutes until it has thickened and is well seasoned.

Use this sauce as an alternative to fresh salsas or as a enchilada or taco sauce. I like to add a little vinegar to mine since good fresh tomatoes tend to make it a little sweet for me.

Salsa de Jitomate (Cocida) Cooked Tomato Sauce

I always turn to Diana Kennedy when I’m looking for salsa/mexican recipes. Here’s one I love.

Salsa de Jitomate (Cocida) Cooked Tomato Sauce

3 Medium tomatoes, broiled
3 chiles serranos, toasted
1/4 onion, roughly chopped
1 small clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 T. peanut or safflower oil
1/4 t. salt, or to taste

Wash the tomatoes and place them in a shallow, foil-lined pan under the broiler set to a low temperature. You want the tomatoes to blister and turn brown but also to cook all the way through. Turn them occasionally to expose all sides to the heat until completely soft. This should take about 20 minutes. To toast the chiles place them in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat and turn them until the outside is blistered and the inside is soft.

Place the tomatoes, chiles, onion and garlic in a blender until fairly smooth. Heat the oil in your chile toasting skillet and add the sauce and salt and cook over a medium flame until the sauce has thickened and is well seasoned.