Salsa Fresca à la El Paso

Earlier this week, my hubby requested that I add salsa making to my grocery list this weekend. So I did. The salsa he was referring to is called Salsa Fresca. It is actually very similar to pico de gallo, in fact, it is probably the same thing. Except that in most of the pico de gallo I have eaten, they were using white onion and the tomatoes were not peeled and deseeded. In fact, after searching online, Salsa Fresca is refered back to the Pico de Gallo article in Wikipedia.

We first came upon this Salsa Fresca when we were in El Paso for a business trip many many years ago. We had lunch at the local Mexican restaurant, and they served us with chips and this Salsa Fresca. So when we were back to our home, we started looking for recipes online. I cannot find which website I found this recipe, but if you look online, many sites have very similar recipes.

It’s very easy. You will need firm roma tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, green onion, jalapeno pepper, serano peppers, lime, garlic, salt and pepper. You need firm roma tomatoes because of the method I used to peel the skin.

First you boil some water in a medium size pot pan. This is the first step to help you remove the tomato’s skin.

While the water is heating toward boiling, wash your tomatoes, and slit an X on both top and bottom side of the tomato. Actually, just an X on the bottom of the tomatoes should be sufficient, but I put another x on top of the tomato just for a good measure.

Then set them aside, and prepare a bowl of water, and fill this bowl of water with ice cubes and set it aside.

Then while you’re waiting for the water to boil, mince some garlic and put it into a big mixing bowl.

Then squeeze some lime juice on top of the minced garlic.  I like to start this way to give the lime and garlic time to mingle together. I want them to be merry before I throw in the other ingredients.

Then, start chopping your veggies. I start with the green onions. Once that is done, dump them into the bowl of minced garlic and lime juice.

Then the red onion next. I did not cry this time. The onion was a left over and was stored in the refrigerator. So, the act of chilling the onion prior to cutting prevented the onion lachrymatory factor to be generated. Boy, do I sound like Alton? 🙂 Well, if you are interested in finding out more about onion, read it here.

Then, I chopped the serano peppers and jalapeno peppers next.

Do you know how to pick a jalapeno that has some heat in it? Look at the peppers comparison below. The first jalapeno has those tiny whitish streaks in it. The second second jalapeno is smooth as a baby’s bottom. The third one is a serano pepper. I just included its picture since some of you might not have seen serano peppers before. Most of serano peppers have heat in them, so there is no worry about picking the wrong one. The jalapenos one though, you will need to look for the one that has a little bit of those tiny white streaks. No matter how big the jalapenos are, if they don’t have the tiny white streaks on them, they’re no good. How do I know this stuff? Once upon a time, I stumbled upon this site, and since then, I have been looking for jalapenos with white streaks.

Back to your Salsa Fresca making. By this time, your water should be boiling. Gently, put in a few of slitted tomatoes in the boiling water. Let the tomatoes sit there until you start seeing that the skin peels off. So don’t run off to go do other stuff while your tomatoes are being blanched. You need to stand/sit there, watch it happen and get ready to lift the tomatoes out of the boiling water. Otherwise you would end up with cooked tomatoes. This is also why I wanted to use firm tomatoes, rather than the ones that are soft and ripe.

Once the skin starts peeling off, scoop them out and put them in the ice water. Let the ice water cool the tomatoes off; it also stops the tomatoes from further being cooked.

After you peel the skin which should be very easy now, cut them into half, and deseed the tomatoes. Just insert your index finger into the sections of the tomatoes and squeeze the seeds out. As a final step, you can also rinse the tomatoes to clean the few seeds left inside the tomatoes.

After you deseed the tomatoes, chop the tomatoes. Then dump them into the bowl.

Next chop some cilantro, and put this on top of the chopped tomatoes. Please note that these steps were just how I did it. You can certainly do it in the order you prefer.

Salt and pepper next.

Then, gently fold your salsa (because you don’t want to mush your tomatoes) until they’re incorporated. Add some more pepper or salt as needed.

Put them into a covered tupperware (so your refrigerator would not smell like onion and garlic) and let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to get all of the flavor mixed and absorbed.

Serve the salsa with tortilla chips, or any kind of chips you like. Que bueno!

Print recipe here.

Salsa Fresca
1 ½ lbs romata tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
1 serano, minced
2 Tbs chopped cilantro
2 Tbs lime juice
1 clove garlic, mince
4 stalks of green onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients and chill. Serve with tortilla chips.

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One Response to Salsa Fresca à la El Paso

  1. Pingback: Guacamole | Anny's Blog

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