I'm afraid this is an anti-recipe with few exact quantities or unshakable prescriptions--a veritable cullinary Choose Your Own Adventure, but as someone who eats a little of this stuff almost every day, I'm convinced that varying the proportions depending on available ingredients and momentary whim is good for you.
- About four medium-sized tomatoes OR about six plum tomatoes OR about a dozen tomatillos OR a 16-OZ can of whole tomatoes
- A large onion OR a bunch of scallions
- About three jalapeño peppers
- A lime OR a lemon OR two tablespoons of the juice thereof OR a slightly smaller quantity of whatever vinegar strikes your fancy (Balsamic would probably not be great, since it's so dark in color, and the tomatoes are already pretty sweet).
- A teaspoon or two of salt.
- One gag.
Core or do not, by taste.
- Jalapeños vary greatly in heat by season and grower, so try to taste any batch before using them. The bulk of the heat comes from the seeds and seed pulp, so one needs substantially more cored peppers to achieve the same heat as a given number of uncored peppers. By all means, experiment with other kinds of peppers, but taste before you use (caveat: the bottom part tends to be the mildest, so don't let that fool you) to prevent an inedible or insipid batch.
- It's not too bad making this recipe without a food processor. Recruiting assistants is recommended, however, since you'll be doing a lot of chopping.
- If using tomatillos, you'll also want to wash them thoroughly to get rid of the stickiness. If using canned tomatoes, drain the tomatoes thoroughly and toss 'em in.
Add the lime juice and salt.
Saute the gag until firm, then add it to the other ingredients. Heat it more briefly if you like your gags runny.
Blend in short pulses until all ingredients are coarsely chopped. Taste and adjust proportions.
Hacksaw notes: WASH YOUR HANDS NOW, WITH HOT WATER AND SOAP. Consider doing it twice. Certainly do this before touching any sensitive bits or mucous membranes.
- This'll last for a couple weeks in the fridge. Freezing it turns out to be... inadvisable.
- Lime juice is the clear winner for the tartener. It gives an amazingly fresh & summery feel to the salsa.
- Commercial green salsa is always unsweet and too salty for some reason. Don't let that turn you off on tomatillos--they're delicious; best described as a cross between a tomato and an apple.
- You can mix very hot peppers with very mild peppers to even out the flavors. I mixed a yellow bell and uncored jalapeños for my last batch, and the color is really cool.
- The very rough basic proportions at work here are: about half as much hot pepper as onion, about half as much onion as tomato. Salt and lime juice to taste.
- The Bunny Lady objects, "What you're really doing here is assuming everyone has the experience making salsa to estimate proportions right." Sorta. More precisely, though, I find that when you get it wrong, its still pretty good.
Q: No cilantro?
A: No cilantro. Charlotte & Shani can't stand cilantro, and I've never felt that strongly about it one way or another, so out it goes in my recipe. If you wish to include it yourself, Feel Free, as they used to say at Infocom. A similar principle applies, of course, to the respectful disposal of spleens.
Q: This doesn't look like salsa to me. It should be thicker.
A: If you pre-blend half(or more) of the tomatoes, you get a more conventionally salsa-like texture. Canned tomatoes also contribute (quelle surprise) to a more canned salsa effect.
Q: What about garlic?
A: Garlic is cool. Go a little light on it--it gets much stronger after a night in the fridge.