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I love fresh salsa (the jarred stuff, not so much). No, no, I LOVE fresh salsa, like, I will embarrass you if we go out to eat at a place with gratis bowls of the stuff. I show no shame, no guilt, and no remorse. When I make it at home, it's usually super simple: fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro and lime, and a spoon to eat it with. This version, from Sara Deseran and Joe Hargrave's restaurants-cum-cookbook, Tacolicious, isn't much more complicated, but is way more interesting.
It's the salsa that welcomes you on arrival to the Tacolicious restaurants, and will be the standard in my kitchen from now on. They start by broiling Roma tomatoes, onion, and a jalapeño until soft and charred, and then throw them in a food processor with cilantro, mint, and rice vinegar. It's those last 2 ingredients that make you raise an eyebrow and go back for another bite. The base layers of flavor are so familiar, but the mint and rice vinegar give the whole thing a hard-to-pinpoint fruity character that is truly memorable. Tacolicious, if you see me coming, you may as well pull out the big-girl bowl right from the start.
Why I picked this recipe: I was told the restaurants serve delicious salsas, so I had to give one a try.
What worked: Everything was perfectly in balance.
What didn't: It actually worked for me, but using the whole, unseeded jalapeño did result in some relatively fiery salsa, especially immediately after preparation.
Suggested tweaks: While a night in the fridge did mellow the heat nicely, if you want a still milder version, seed and ration the jalapeño accordingly.
Thanks to our friends at Ten Speed Press, we have 5 copies of Tacolicious to give away this week.
Reprinted with permission from Tacolicious, by Sara Deseran and Joe Hargrave, copyright © 2014, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.