Tomate Frito From 'Yucatán'

Yucatan cookbook cover

Use this spicy tomato sauce to top the brazo de reina and the papadzules from David Sterling's Yucatán.

You can use an Anaheim chili or spicy banana pepper in place of the chile x'catik.

Reprinted with permission from Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition by David Sterling. Copyright 2014. Published by University of Texas Press. For more information, visit All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

Recipe Details

Tomate Frito From 'Yucatán'

Active 15 mins
Total 35 mins
Makes 4 cups


  • 2 pounds (1 k) Roma tomatoes, charred and quartered
  • 1/2 medium red onion (5 oz/137.5 g), peeled, charred, and quartered
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 medium chile x'catik (1 1/4 oz/35 g), charred, skin left intact, stem removed, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup (112 g) lard, enriched with bacon fat if possible, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) sea salt


  1. Working in batches as needed, place the tomatoes and onion in a blender with the water and tomato paste, if using, and puree thoroughly. Slowly add slices of the chile through the feed tube until you reach the desired heat level.

  2. In a large, heavy skillet with steep sides, heat the lard or oil until shimmering. Pour all of the tomato mixed in at once; it should splatter and sizzle, so stand back. Stir to incorporate and continue cooking over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking another 10 minutes, or until the sauce has turned a deep red color and has reduced by about one quarter. Add the salt and stir to incorporate. Check the seasonings and serve.