I’ve always been a fan of blending savory with sweet. i really enjoy the juxtaposition of tangy, sweet and spicy presented in my version of salsa. it’s not the most traditional, it’s a blend of techniques i had seen other people using, most notably my mother-in-law Pat and a guy i worked with in San Antonio some years back. I normally use mango as my sweetening agent but this particular meal i wanted to start and stop with two different presentation of peaches, very different but shades of the same gray.
Ingredients and quantities are extremely fluid with salsa. within a broad range, basically pick whatever appeals to you and toss it in. the below is my basic prep with amounts adjusted to taste along the way.
6 Roma Tomatoes
1 Yellow Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
6 Cloves Garlic
1 bunch of Cilantro
4 Habanero Peppers
2 Jalapeno Peppers
2 banana peppers
1/2 of a fresh peach
as stated above, salsa is for the most part a matter of taste. with the above ingredients, i usually make two small batches, one with a little more kick than the other but thematically the same. i use roma tomatoes because i like the surface to mass ratio which is important given that i basically blacken the tomatoes before use. the types of peppers used are fluid as well, whatever looks good and i’m in the mood for gets dropped in the mix.
To start with, i heat my cast iron skillet, dry, over high heat. once the pan is nice and hot, i drop in all the peppers and 1/2 of the tomatoes. let these blacken for a bit and then turn over to blacken the other side. with the tomatoes, a few extra turns are needed to make sure you’ve got a good percentage of the outer skin blackened. its not going to be a solid black mass, just nice burnt spots on all sides. it really adds to the flavor. really.
the rest of the prep is so ridiculously easy that i feel bad even typing it. i’m not trying to insult the readers intelligence, i promise.
drop the whole blackened tomatoes into your blender (or food processor but i find the blender works better) and break down with a wooden spoon or similar utensil. this will give you the needed liquid component to your salsa and avoids the splattering mess all over the counter that would surely ensue if you chopped the tomatoes on your cutting board. add to this half of the onion with the outer couple of layers removed. you don’t want even a hint of the papery outer skin so take off a few layers to make sure you got just the inner goodness. toss in the cloves of garlic and a heavy dash of sea salt. blend to your desired consistency, i like my pretty much pulverized and liquid. i know mine is where i want it to be when there is a little foamy froth on top of the blend.
Here is where the road forks, you have your basic salsa but if you plan on making two separate strengths of salsa, split the base now into equal halves. if you are just gonna go for it and have one type, go ahead and drop in one of the uncooked tomatoes, one of the habaneros, both jalapenos, the sweet peppers and the cilantro. give this a quick spin and taste. keep adding habaneros until its either hot enough or you run out of peppers. its going to get a little hotter over a day or so in the fridge (recommended before use) so don’t go too far overboard. if you’re mix seems too light in color or not tomato-y enough, well, thats why we have extra tomatoes. drop them in one at a time until it suits ya.
once you have the desired heat level, chop up the peach and add it a little at a time, blending each new addition until your taste test gives you just a hint of peach flavor. the sugars in the fruit do wonders to complement the tomatoes. i’m not gonna go crazy with an explanation, just try it and see.
you will probably need a little more salt at this point. again, don’t go crazy, a little at a time and taste in between.
after that, jar this up and refrigerate overnight at least, share and enjoy.
you can use just about any stone fruit for the sweetener if peaches aren’t your thing, like i said above, i normally use mangoes which work quite nicely. you can leave the fruit out altogether but if you do, drop in a tablespoon or two of sugar, it really works wonders to balance the hot with a little sweetness.
additional ingredients you can drop in: Oregano, Fresh Ground Black Pepper, Black Olives, Black Beans (don’t blend too much after these, it turns into a pasty sauce instead of a salsa), pretty much anything in these lines that you enjoy.
i’ll take some pictures of my prep of the salsa and post them.
please post back if you try this dish or enjoy the thought of it 🙂