One of the first good and mildly original recipes I learned was my dad's salsa recipe. I have great memories of weekends back home when my dad would make salsa. It wasn't something he always did, I seem to remember that at one point, he just started and the salsa was always great. I often helped with the chopping and lucky me, I learned how to make a great salsa.
I like all kinds of salsas, whether they are raw, cooked, fruit-based or tomatillo. Of course the fresher the ingredients, the better. But my all time favorite salsa is a cooked salsa. Whether for nostalgic reasons or for the fact that cooked salsas are, in fact, complex 'sauces', they are my favorite. Although I've tinkered with my dad's recipe, adding different ingredients and modifying the cooking technique, I rarely stray from my favorite ingredients: tomatoes, green chiles (anaheim most often), green onions, and cilantro. Even without jalapeños, you can make a great salsa with just those ingredients.
So, I've had a few years to play around with my dad's recipe and good incentive. Here in Bloomington, our Farmers' Market has an annual salsa contest. The categories are cooked, raw, and more recently 'specialty' (which often means a lot of fruit salsas). I've entered in the past and depending on the year, the competition can be stiff. Two years ago, I placed first with this recipe. I think that this one came out so well particularly because of the heirloom tomatoes and the mild smoky flavor given by putting a couple of soaked mesquite wood chips on the grill while I roasted the tomatoes. I named the salsa after my favorite chopper and taster.
Ramblin' Rosie's Smoky Roasted Salsa
15 (to 18) assorted tomatoes (Roma, heirloom)
18 cherry tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
3 Anaheim chilies
1/2 red onion
1 1/2 can(s) tomato sauce
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup(s) chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Salt, to taste
Oregano, to taste
- Halve tomatoes and skewer cherry tomatoes.
- Quarter and seed bell pepper.
- Brush tomatoes, pepper, chilies, and red onion with vegetable oil.
- Wrap onion in foil.
- Place vegetables on grill with 2 mesquite wood chips that have soaked in water for an hour.
- Cook until skins easily fall off.
- Chop all cooked ingredients and place in bowl (alternatively, you can put all of the cooked ingredients into a saucepan and cook on a low temperature to reduce the mix and increase the flavor of the salsa).
- Let cool and add tomato sauce. Stir to combine.
- Add green onion, cilantro, and lime juice, and season to taste