Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fired Up for Salsa

We grow our own tomatoes in the summer.  Actually, My Man grows them (jalapenos, too).  We have a pretty impressive yield from only 6 plants.

Last year, we had hundreds of tomatoes, so we shared them with everyone we knew.  In 2009, we had almost no tomatoes because we planted them too late (mid-March, but we got an early heat spell). Lesson learned is that tomatoes will suffer from something called "blossom drop" and not set fruit if the nights are either too warm (in our case) or too cold.  See this article which discusses the optimal temperatures for planting tomatoes.  Another lesson learned from prior years is that we need to pick the tomatoes while they're still a little green or the birds will dive-bomb them and we'll be tomato-less.

Our harvest is coming in strong, and that means we're getting fired up for our smoky, spicy version of homemade salsa.

Fire Roasted Garden Salsa
(click here to print)

6 medium to large tomatoes (about 3 lbs.)
1 large onion, chopped coarsely
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 large or 4-6 small jalapenos (see NOTE)

1/3 cup cilantro, minced
1 Tbsp. vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (start with about 1 tsp. salt)
hickory wood chips, water

Soak a handful of hickory (or mesquite) wood chips in water for about 20 minutes.  Drain and place on a square of heavy-duty foil, making a little bundle.
The top should be open.  Put the bundle directly on the coals of your (cold) grill.  Turn the grill to high and allow the chips to begin smoking, about 10 minutes.  The grill sheet that I  cooked the vegetables on was preheating at the same time.

In the meantime, toss the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and jalapenos with a little vegetable oil to coat.  Add to the preheated grill sheet. Turn the heat down to medium high, close the cover, and allow the vegetables to cook for 8-10 minutes.  You will see a fair bit of smoke.  Smoke is good.

Turn the vegetables and continue to grill them for another 8-10 minutes.  The tomatoes will start to get soft and the garlic, onions, and jalapenos will be slightly blackened.  A good char helps to promote the smoky flavor you're going for.

Remove the vegetables to a heatproof bowl and set aside until cool enough to handle.  Core and chop the tomatoes, load into a strainer with the other vegetables, and set over the bowl to drain thoroughly.

My tomatoes were very juicy, so you're trying to get rid of some of the extra juice.  Stir it around to help it along.  I do keep some in reserve, though, in case I want to make the salsa thinner later.

Finally, chop your cilantro in your food processor.   Add the cooked tomato mixture, vinegar, salt and pepper and pulse to desired consistency.

 Refrigerate until served.  This tastes best when it's been allowed to stand for several hours.

Serve with...well, you know.

This salsa doesn't last 24 hours at my house!

NOTE:   If you prefer a milder salsa, add fewer jalapenos and cut the jalapenos lengthwise to remove the seeds and ribs.  Our homegrown jalapenos are large and very hot, so I only added two and removed the seeds and ribs.  A word of caution: if you chop the jalapenos with your bare hands, make sure you wash before touching your eyes!  Caliente'!

Linking to:

Mouthwatering Mondays


Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

This looks great! I love your method of smoking the veggies:@)

Our Italian Kitchen said...

This look so good! The hickory chips must had made it have great flavor!

Amanda-The Sweet Details said...

oh yum!! This looks great! Thanks for linking this up to savory sunday!!

Gypsy Heart said...

Wow, I could devour this right now! Looks delish ~ and those tomatoes are awesome. I LOVE fresh tomato sandwiches...good bread, mayo and tomatoes with salt & lots of pepper! Texas proud ~ :-)

Thanks so much for sharing!


Melissa said...

yummmy! =)
Thanks so much for sharing your recipe - Im a new email subscriber, and your salsa is making me hungry...

Katie @ This Chick Cooks said...

Oh my! That salsa must be wonderful after fire roasting the veggies on the grill. What a great idea! I'd love for you to come by and show off your recipe at These Chicks Cooked Recipe Spotlight today. Have a blessed day :)

Chef in Training said...

i LOVE salsa and this looks absolutely wondeful! YUM! I found your blog through a link party and LOVE it! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would check out my blog and follow me too! Thanks!