Monday, May 3, 2010

Salsa for Jack Night

 Tonight, and every Monday night, is Jack Night. Jack Night is where my boyfriend's sister, Ilene, has people over to eat and watch episodes of "24" (or "Lost" or "Heroes" in the off-season). Tonight for dinner: burritos in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. My contribution: chips and salsa. Pretty simple, right? Except I really don't like store-bought salsa. It's always too chunky and doesn't have the right flavor - it's almost bland. So I make my own.

A lot of people don't really think to make their own salsa, but it's SO easy and tastes SO much better, and the ingredients are likely ones you have in your pantry anyway. My recipe is based on the flavor profile of On The Border's salsa (the stuff you get in the restaurant, not the stuff they sell in the store). The best thing about salsa is you can adjust it to your own taste - more heat, less heat, more onion, less onion, more garlic, less garlic, etc. So here is my preferred salsa recipe:

Salsa - On The Border Style
  • 1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
  • 1 14.5 oz. can stewed sliced tomatoes
  • 1/2 to 1 small onoin (vidalia is best), chopped
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Tbsp pickled jalepeno (for less heat, add less or leave out, for more heat, add more)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Process in a food processor or blender and blend to your desired consistency. For chunky salsa, blend less, or chop your tomatoes by hand and simply add the rest of the ingredients. For smooth salsa, blend longer.

It tastes best once it has been refrigerated for several hours or overnight so that the flavors can marry, but it's good right away too.

This makes a large batch, but you can always can it if you're into that, or freeze it in batches after letting it sit in the fridge for a few hours, although it may have a more watery consistency once thawed. Honestly, I can eat the whole batch by myself within 2 weeks. I love it.

Variations I have made include using lime juice instead of the red wine vinegar, and adding some oregano - about 1 tsp. dried or 1 Tbsp fresh. We have an herb garden at my parent's house so I love using fresh herbs when I can.

And that's all there is to it! Do you have a favorite salsa recipe?


  1. Oh wow! I'm really looking forward to this!

  2. boyfriends MommyMay 19, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    It is wonderful. Jen made me some last year.