A good homemade salsa will liven up any dish. It’s a quick way to add a ton of flavor in a single spoonful. At home, we like to put salsa on eggs, grilled vegetables, and meats. Although right now our favorite way to eat salsa roja is along with citrus & ginger pickled things on corn chips. Luckily, zuké pickled things travels well!
Here, in Mexico, it’s common to spread a dollop (or several) of salsa roja on a handmade corn tortilla and devour at least 5 with a bowl of caldo (a flavorful broth) or menudo (tripe soup). Perhaps more popular and pervasive, is using it as a condiment on tacos. It’s available at every corner road side stand.
Of course, you can use a blender to make this salsa in just a few minutes, but this morning, my aunt Juana prepared salsa roja for our breakfast using one of the oldest kitchen tools in Mesoamerica, the molcajete. Molcajetes are available at most Mexican mercados (stores) and are made from different materials such as volcanic stone or plastic. They are used to make salsas, moles, guacamole, and more.Salsa Roja Ingredients:
5-6 medium tomatillos, roasted
7-10 chile de arbol (spicy=more chiles/mild=less chiles), roasted
1 clove garlic, roasted
~ 1/2 tsp water
Salt to taste
Roast tomatillos (see note below), chile de arbol (approx. 1 minute each side), and garlic (approx 2 minutes each side) on stove top or grill using flat cooking surface such as a cast iron skillet or griddle. Use aluminum foil to wrap the tomatillos as they roast over the heat. Foil acts as a steamer and receptacle for tomatillo juices, ensuring that all liquid will be reserved for salsa. Roast tomatillos until they become charred and are lighter in color, approximately 10 minutes. Be sure to turn every few minutes for even roasting.
MOLCAJETE: Begin by slowly crushing roasted chile de arbol in the molcajete with salt. Add a bit of water to prevent chile from ‘jumping’ out of the molcajete. Then add the roasted garlic, continue to crush. Add tomatillos, one at a time until all ingredients are blended together well (see photo).
BLENDER: Place all ingredients in blender, puree for approx. 1 minute or until consistency is as desired. Transfer to bowl for serving or jar for storing in refrigerator.