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Salsa de Mayo?

Category: Recipe
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Lately I’ve been craving salsa, and normally, am content with just buying the fresh stuff in the produce section of the grocery store in the little plastic container. But I dunno… I’m stubborn, and independent, and I wanted to make my own. So I do what any normal foodie does, I Google. The most popular recipes I came across on the web, for “restaurant style salsa” involve canned tomatoes.


Despite my skepticism, I made them. I made them ALL. And they were all awful. Who really enjoys the aluminum acidity from raw canned tomatoes? Am I missing out on something? I remember trying to eat pennies when I was a kid… brought me right back to the good ol’ days. But that’s not really what I want in my salsa, ever.

So I decided to just screw around in the kitchen, and came up with my own version. You’re going to see a strange ingredient in there: Louisiana hot sauce. Don’t be afraid. It’s only a squirt or two, and if you’re gonna be such a brat about it, you can just omit it all together. 😛

On top of red salsa, I wanted to make some salsa verde. The only time I ever bought salsa verde, I almost threw up. The jarred stuff from the grocery store was terrible, gelatinous, and slimy. I vowed forever more to only eat salsa verde from Mexican restaurants only, because they know what they’re doing! But then, I became curious, and wanted to make my own. Cooks Illustrated never disappoints, so that recipe is entirely from them (with a few tweaks here and there from me.).

And finally, there’s something satisfying about making your own tortilla chips. My roommate tends to buy things in large quantities, so we have A LOT of corn tortillas… and, I borrowed a few…

A note to make: I’m “lime heavy.” I love lots of lime juice, in everything and anything that requires lime: drinks, desserts, and salsas. So I’ve left the specific amount of lime juice up to you. Because if you saw the amount I used, you might be scared. 🙂


Ingredients for tortillas
  • Some tortillas, cut into your shape of choice
  • Lime juice
  • Kosher salt
  • a light oil, for frying (I used vegetable)
Instructions for tortillas
  1. In a large pot, heat oil until temperature reads 350 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, stop cooking, go to the store, and buy one.
  2. Carefully drop the tortillas in the hot oil, and fry until slightly golden brown, about 3-5 mins
  3. Move to a paper towel lined plate, and immediately sprinkle with salt, and lime juice.

Ingredients for red salsa
  • 4 medium sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 cup onion, very roughly chopped
  • lime juice (amount? your choice)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (seeds removed if you’d like it to be less spicy)
  • a few dashes of Louisiana hot sauce
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
Instructions for red salsa
  1. First, did you know that if you’re going to be using raw onion in a dish, that after chopping/dicing/mincing/slicing them, running them under cold water will help calm the flavor of the onion? So go ahead and do that.
  2. Now in a food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, onion, and jalapeño and pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Move your now finely chopped greens to a separate bowl, and in food processor bowl, add all tomatoes, sugar and salt. Pulse until chopped, or pulverized.
  4. Mix with your finely chopped greens, and add lime juice and Louisiana hot sauce.

Ingredients for salsa verde (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

  • ~6-7 tomatillos, husked and washed
  • 1/4 c onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, (seeds removed if you prefer it less spicy)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • lime juice (amount? your choice)
  • pinch of salt
Instructions for salsa verde
  1. Boil some water in a pot, and add tomatillos. Gently boil for about 8 minutes, or until the tomatillos start losing their bright green-ness.
  2. Drain and transfer to a bowl filled with ice water, so that the tomatillos will cool down fast.
  3. Put cooled tomatillos, and ALL other ingredients into a food processor, and pulse until desired consistency.

So which one is your favorite?

Red, or green?

Oooh! And today is Cinco de Mayo! Unfortunately, the history tends to get lost in tortillas and tequilas, so please do read up on it, and celebrate accordingly! 🙂

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4 Notes

  1. So glad I saw this come through my twitter stream!! I LOVE homemade sauce…these chips are to die for, and I’ve been wanting to make homemade salsa verde which is why I have tomatillos sitting on my kitchen island for the first time. I hit the jackpot with this post!! THANKS for sharing!

    • admin says:

      Awesome! Great timing 🙂 This was the first time I had ever worked with tomatillos – what a breeze! You’ll love it!

  2. Niro says:

    Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing! Question: how did you get your red salsa to be that gorgeous deep dark red? Did you just have amazing tomatoes? When I make salsa, it comes out a muddied color…not as appetizing, though still tasty!

    • admin says:

      Thank you! Hmmm…it may be caused by a couple of factors. One, I made sure to (gently) squeeze out all of the juice from inside the tomatoes. That might help keep the excess water from muting the color. And two, I used very ripe, on-the-vine tomatoes. Those tend to have a super red hue to them when they’re most ripe. 🙂