Sunday, December 27, 2015

Salsa

When I see "salsa" it conjures an image of a very specific tomato based chunky sauce, but all salsa is is sauce. Salsa = sauce = salsa = sauce = salsa.

That being said, salsa is obviously the sassier and more adventurous version of sauce. Two syllables, not an English word, etc. Especially once you get it out of your head that salsa = some form of Pace Picante Sauce. For example, this recipe for a Mexican salsa uses allspice as a flavoring. And seeds to help thicken it up and give it some roasty good flavors. Never before had I thought of allspice as a flavor in Mexican food, but, as I'm finding out, there's a lot more to mexican food than tacos.

So, this salsa. You start by dry roasting sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds along with some allspice and whole dried peppers. Say, a couple handfuls of the seeds, a few tablespoons of whole allspice berries, and maybe a fistful of dried peppers. I like pasillos and guajillas. Roast them over medium heat till they start smelling better. Add some already hot water to cover before the start burning.

A word about dried peppers. Pasillos and guajillas in particular aren't spicy, but they pack a lot of flavor. You want to find ones that are still leathery and pliable. Completely dried out ones aren't as tasty.

Halve a few pounds of tomatillos/tomatoes. I generally make this with just tomatillos,  but adding a tomato or two is tasty as well. You want enough in there so all the tomatillos are at least touching the hot simmering water and peppers and seeds. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Don't cook it too long, just enough so part of the tomatillos starts to get a little soft. You still want some freshness there. Take it off the heat and puree the whole mess. Season with salt, pepper, Goya all purpose, chicken broth powder, whatever works. Stuff with MSG works best. Taste it. If it's a little bitter add a bit of sugar, piloncillo (shavings from the cone of dried sugar cane juice you find next to where you got your dried whole peppers) is best, puree again and taste again.

This stuff is the bomb. Works great as an enchilada sauce, sauce for tamales, "mexican casserole" (I know, I know, but both my family and my wife's family have a casserole they call that, and this sauce is even tasty on those culinary stereotypes), huevos rancheros, rubbed on my face in the throes of a culinary coma, etc. Be creative.

I'll leave you with how I did huevos rancheros: preheat pan with bacon grease, fry corn tortilla a little, put the egg on tortilla, add salt and pepper and the salsa you're gonna make after you stop reading this, cover till whites are set, stuff it in your face, and sooth the pain of eating it before it's cooled down with the symphony of gustatory pleasures dancing across your taste buds.

2 comments:

  1. :) I can't wait to make this salsa!!! I have been wanting it for a while now.
    That recipe for huevos rancheros sounds SOOO good. I definately want to try that!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Okay. So this is the recipe for that glorious thing I saw you posting photos of forever ago. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete