I have a problem with Mexican food.
The problem is that I could eat it almost every da’gum day. I just got a sneak peak at the sale ad that comes out tomorrow – and let’s just say, if you’re like me (swimming in the deep end of the crazy pool over Mexican food), you’re gonna love it. So let’s kick off a little fiesta with the King of Mexican condiments: salsa!
The FamDam has a favorite Mexican restaurant. It’s downtown, on 4th Street. It shall remain nameless here today. If they had given me their salsa recipe when I begged them for it recently, maybe I would have mentioned them here. But they didn’t, so – too bad. No plug. To be fair, they don’t need a plug from me. If you stop in on any given Saturday night, you’ll have a wait. A big one. So they’re doing just fine without free advertising from little old me.
“Bitter, party of one?”
I kid, I kid! Back to the issue at hand today: SALSA. For me, the mark of a great Mexican restaurant is their salsa. Don’t you agree? If I don’t like what a taquieria is serving up with its chips, I don’t go back. And that’s why I’m such a fan of La Fue — oops, I wasn’t going to mention them. They have GREAT salsa. Amazing, even. I could eat it with a spoon! It’s smooth, with the perfect balance of tomatoes, onions, and cilantro –and it’s always nice and cold. Soooo delicious with a chilly margarita and a basket of warm, toasty chips … aye caramba! I feel a swoon coming on.
My friend Lori has also made an attempt to garner this particular recipe, and like me, has come up empty handed. She and I have gone ‘round and ‘round ad nauseam, speculating as to how the people at La Fue – darn, there I go again – this restaurant – make their salsa. After much discussion, we’ve concluded that there is no possible way they use fresh tomatoes. Forget it – there are canned tomatoes involved. We also agree that onion, fresh jalapeno, tons of cilantro, a bit of garlic, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice are also in the mix.
We can’t quite seem to duplicate it, but I have to say, this version comes close. And because I’m nice, and I don’t run a Mexican restaurant, and there’s no proprietary information involved here, I’m going to share it with you.
Give it a whirl! See what you think. Serve it up on Sunday while you watch the big game – it’s also great with the Shrimp Quesadillas I’m going to have up here tomorrow. And if you have any insight as to how these restaurants down on 4th street make their salsa, feel free to chime in at any time.
Happy Tuesday, my little cucarachas!
Some recipe notes: I used a whole, unseeded jalapeno in mine, but of course you could cut this if you’re not in to the heat (“What are you, a man or a mouse? I mean, a woman or a wouse?” Name that movie!). Also quite important is that you allow enough time for this salsa to chill in the fridge (ideally, overnight). You would not believe how the flavors are going to improve when they’re all allowed to mingle for a spell!
RESTAURANT STYLE SALSA
Makes about 6 cups
A collaborative effort of Lori & Leah!
- 2 15 oz. cans whole tomatoes, undrained (Shurfine are on sale)
- 1 14.5 oz can Rotel (find this on the top shelf where the tomatoes are)
- ¼ medium onion, rough chopped
- 1 whole jalapeno, stemmed and rough chopped (leave the seeds and the ribs if you like it HOT) – these are on sale
- 1 clove garlic, rough chopped
- Small handful of cilantro (half a bunch, maybe?) rough chopped – on sale
- Generous squeeze of fresh lime juice – on sale
- Pinch sugar
- Sea salt to taste
Place all of the ingredients in your food processor and pulse until you get it to the consistency that you like. I like mine pretty smooth, so for me that’s 10-12 big pulses. Season with salt to taste. Transfer to a lidded container and chill for at least two hours, occasionally shaking the container to blend. Store overnight if possible.
Now, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, please serve this salsa with a decent, restaurant quality chip! My favorites are Matilda’s or Xochitl, and both are on sale this week.
Posted by Leah DamronLeah Damron is an avid home cook who believes in using the freshest ingredients available, and she challenges herself weekly to create meals out of (mostly!) sale items. If Sendik's ever gave a title for "Biggest Fan", she believes she would win, hands down. Leah lives in greater Milwaukee with her husband, three children, and her big black lab, Daisy."
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