This past year, I’ve been preparing, at least on a weekly basis, an array of fresh salsas and salad dressings.
In prior years, these were two condiments that I would simply purchase at the grocery store. But now I thoroughly enjoy experimenting with various combinations of dried and fresh chilis, herbs, as well as numerous types of citrus, oils, vinegars and other flavor agents to tie it all together.
Making fresh salad dressings and salsas in your home kitchen is quite simple, and the results are always seemingly better than what I used to purchase.
This week, I am focusing on salsa.
I’ve prepared countless forms of salsa, often incorporated into my meals, or simply enjoyed with chips and guacamole as an appetizer. Lately, I’ve narrowed in on a few favorites that I prepare more regularly.
I tend to work off a general list of the necessities that commonly find their way into salsas: tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime or lemon juice, and salt.
After a lot of experimenting, I’ve recently started to use green onions instead of standard onions, and some farmers market chipotle peppers (ripened jalapeño peppers that have been smoked and dried) instead of fresh since the fresh chilis are not quite yet in season. I find that the refreshing and aromatic presence of green onions makes a world of difference in the final product, which I feel has really elevated my salsas.
I tend to use the entire shoot, coarsely chopping both the green and white portion. However, I do tend to reserve the very base of the green onion, placing it in a Mason jar on my kitchen countertop with just enough water to cover the roots. Then I regrow them in my kitchen for further use.
This is a fun way to have green onions readily available in your kitchen.
In addition to the green onions, the chipotle peppers, which are available weekly from Ormonde Farms at the Saturday Santa Barbara farmers’ market, also really elevates the overall presence, adding smokey, spicy notes throughout.
If you have a favorite salsa recipe that you’ve developed, I would love to hear about it!
Chipotle Green Onion Salsa
4 chipotle peppers (this will give you a medium heat), stem removed, most seeds discarded
3-4 green onions, coarsely chopped
6 medium Roma style tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
Juice from 1 lime or lemon
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
½ teaspoon salt, add more to taste as desired
Optional; ½ teaspoon dried oregano
Place peppers in a small mason jar or bowl. Boil water and submerge peppers, cover, and let sit for at least 10 minutes or until soft. Place all ingredients in a blender and pulsate a few times to break up ingredients. I like to then bring to a full blend, running until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. You may need additional salt or lemon juice. Place in the refrigerator covered until ready to enjoy. Serve over any Mexican style cuisine or enjoy with chips.
You can also char your tomatoes and green onions on the grill before blending for a slightly alternative flavor.
Yield: About 2 cups.