Tuesday, May 05, 2009

7 Ingredients. No more, no less.

No American Idol post tonight--with all my favorites out, it's not worth commenting on. Instead, I bring you my salsa recipe. There's far too much bad salsa in the world. I just hope this post can help raise the international standard a couple notches.

My recipe uses just 7 ingredients. After much experimentation, I found that adding anything more or less only served to minimize the flavor. Those seven magical ingredients are:

  1. Tomatoes
  2. Cilantro
  3. Onion
  4. Jalapeno
  5. Garlic
  6. Salt
  7. Lime
All must be fresh and of high quality. Don't even think about using canned tomatoes. Let's begin.

The Seven


If you don't plan on using your cilantro right away, you'll want to place it in a cup of water to keep it from wilting.
Tomatoes


Get yourself a good food processor. There's no better way to make salsa. Tomatoes should be vine ripe if possible, preferably from your own garden. Nothing is more critical to good salsa than quality tomatoes. Cut in quarters and add FIRST. This is important, as it allows for the best blend. 3-5 tomatoes depending on size.

Cilantro


I like to let my cilantro sit in a large bowl of water for awhile. The sand and grit will sink to the bottom. Then I rinse it under cold water before drying it out in a salad spinner. After that, I pick out each and every badly wilted or slimy piece in the bunch. I'm a bit OCD about this. Finally, I chop the bunch into about 4-5 sections before adding. If you don't cut them up, the cilantro will wrap itself up around your blades. 1/3 to 1/2 bunch per batch.
Onion


This is where you can get a bit creative. I've tried many different variations of onions, but my favorite is simply yellow with green. In this particular instance, I've added white onions to the mix. I don't recommend using red ones. They overpower everything else. By adding them third, they do a good job of weighing down the cilantro. I generally go with the equivalent of 1 normal sized onion per batch, but that's usually made up of 2-3 varieties.
Jalapeno & Garlic


Jalapeno is all about temperature control. I like to add 1-2 per blended batch. I leave the seeds in for heat. I tried using other varieties of peppers, but I lost temperature consistency. Garlic should be freshly peeled with the rough end chopped off. You can vary the number of cloves you add depending on your affinity for garlic. I like 5-6 per batch.
Tomatoes & Salt


Yes, tomatoes again. You need another 1-2 tomatoes for the right ingredient ratio. By adding a top layer, you get a better blend. Go with Kosher salt. Regular table salt is gross. Kosher has a much stronger flavor and dissolves well. I never measure. Go with your gut.
Lime


Lime is key in the preservation process. Together with the salt, it will keep your salsa fresh in the fridge for weeks. (don't hold me to that though) Do not use lime concentrate from those lime shaped bottles. It's NOT the same thing. Freshly squeezed lime has a unique, delicious flavor that brings the salsa together. I like to cut a triangle wedge from each quarter, throw it in, and then squeeze the juice from the remaining quarter. You get more liquid that way. I use 1 whole lime for each batch.

Blend


Start with several pulses to get things going, then hold down until you get the consistency you like. I like mine a bit chunky, but still well blended.


Giant Bowl


This bowl represents 4 batches from my 10 cup food processor. It's a lot of salsa. Enough to feed a small army or service an entire cafeteria of grade schoolers. I finished it off in a couple weeks. My tolerance for salsa is very high. Put a lid on it and refrigerate. It tastes better after it's allowed to sit for a few hours.

Congratulations, you now have the best tasting salsa in the world. Donations gladly accepted.

10 comments:

Scott said...

I will make this in the next two days. Thanks.

Garden Philospher said...

Thanks for sharing this. We have some of the ingredients from our garden and have wanted to do it but never have.
I might add one thing more if you can afford it and that would be some firm but ripe avacado. But that is just me. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Celly said...

Shane--I haven't seen you in so so long!! You know I love your salsa--even if my stomach doesn't (onions and garlic really get me). Let's have a game night or BBQ soon--if we ever have a good weekend!
Love--Celly

Jake and Jenny said...

That looks fabulous! I am expecting some when we come in June! I will donate gladly!

Supercords said...

I'll tell you how it will turn out dad. Slimy and gross.

I'm all for avocado, but it should be added to the dish as an additional topping WITH the salsa, not IN the salsa.

Celly,

You know I love a good dinner and game night. You let us know when, and I'll be there. Oh, and where the crap is your blog?!?!

J Walker said...

Just a little correction so all the people making this around the world don't get this wrong...You substituted cilantro for jalapeno.

This is very similar to my staple salsa recipe, although yours is much more refined and thought out.

Supercords said...

Thanks for the heads up. I made the correction.

Kelsey K. Hartley said...

I'm now really hungry. That looks so good!

Aaron said...

I've never liked any homemade salsa I've ever had, probably because it always has way too much cilantro in it. But, I've noticed that whenever I'm at some get-together where someone's made homemade salsa, people just go nuts about it, like it's the most impressive thing in the world to make salsa.

So, I decided to make up some salsa last week to see if it was really that hard. I followed your directions pretty closely, except I eliminated the cilantro, because I can't stand the stuff. It's possible the salsa would taste fine or perhaps even better with a moderate amount of cilantro, but I'm not taking the chance.

The first batch was pretty good, but needed a little more salt. So, the second batch I over compensated and put way too much salt in it. It was so bad that the next day I had to go buy some more ingredients to make up a third batch without any salt just to even it out. Once that was done, though, I had about 4 quarts of seriously good salsa on my hands.

I served a little at my son's birthday party and got several compliments (even though some guests needled me by suggesting it could use a little more cilantro). I ate virtually all of the rest of it myself. 3 1/2 quarts of salsa in 7 days.

One question for next time: Are you using key limes or the full size ones? I used the big ones, but though it was perhaps just a tad too "limey". Still didn't stop me from eating it all, though.

Supercords said...

Cilantro is the herb of the gods. You should make yourself eat it until you like it.

Salt is key. You get a feel for what the right amount is. It's the yin to the lime's yang.

DO NOT use key limes. Wrong flavor. Plus, they are a pain in the ass to squeeze. Standard limes are perfect.