Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Authentic Mexican Restaurant Style Salsa Recipe


So here is the dilemma. You go out to any Mexican restaurant and they always have (generally) the same salsa. It is basic, yet fresh and delicious, but you can't seem to pin down exactly what it is that makes it good. You go to the store hoping to purchase it, but never find anything that remotely tastes like it anywhere. So why does the stuff at the grocery store never tastes anything like the authentic Mexican restaurant variety no matter how many brands you try. Why? Because Old El Paso has to add preservatives and chemicals to prevent their outdated recipe which descended from a two decade old American palette from spoiling on the shelves of your neighborhood hyper market.

I generally cook upside down.
Let's first sort out exactly what salsa is. Translated from Spanish it basically means sauce. More precisely it doesn't involve cowboys nor a "New York City" tag line. Real salsa is either red or green, and generally not chunky. Red salsa is your normal variety of tomato based garnish or taco sauce as we call it here in the States. Green is called salsa verde. Latin cultures also have something called pico de gallo   (that oddly translates to beak of chicken) which is a combination of chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro and seasonings. Why American food distributors believe salsa should be re-invented and labeled  "Tex-Mex" by mixing pico de gallo and salsa together is beyond my comprehension when the traditional recipe is so much more better tasting than its boiled and processed counterpart.

So what is real salsa? Real Mexican salsa is so simple, so easy, it's going to blow your mind when I tell you how easy it is to make. Yet unless you grew up in Tijuana, or have a Hispanic friend willing to divulge the secrets of true Mexican cuisine, then you wouldn't know how to make it. As if there is a conspiracy to keep it from all the gringos on the Internet tracking down the real thing was a passion of mine. Till now no one has ever published a recipe for true, authentic Mexican salsa. Sure I had to help four immigrants cross the border and sell my child's own social security number to get it, but here it is:


    Authentic Mexican Restaurant Salsa Recipe

    Ingredient
    1- 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
    ½ teaspoon of salt
    ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
    3 (approx.) tablespoons of pickled jalapeƱo rings (and juice) 
    (add more to increase heat)
    cilantro leaves to taste
    Method
    1. Pour all ingredients into blender or food processor.
    2. Blend well, and taste, adjusting flavors as needed.

    ** Be aware that hotness does increase with time.
    ** If you can afford to chill in in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, you'll find the flavors combine superbly.
Now wasn't that easy? It's perfect on huevos (eggs), tacos, nachos, and does a great job at impressing your new illegal immigrant friend who moved in two doors down. A batch will lasts a few days in the fridge, years in the freezer- but I'd be surprised if there's any left by manana as good as it is.

A quick note, is while fresh Jalapenos seem like a great idea... they just don't work. You need pickled or "canned" jalapenos. Feel free to pickle your own "fresh" jalapenos, but the juice is as much apart of the recipe as any other ingredient.

Several friends have adapted the recipe with a hint of lime, or other ingredients. Feel free to play around to meet your own taste needs.