The season for salsa is here! We got together with our neighbors for a Cinco de Mayo dinner last week. The following salsa along with an avocado salad, my black bean salsa, and roasted chicken over arroz amarillo (yellow rice), washed down by Jose Cuervo Margaritas was a great way to welcome the warm weather. Although our cuisine was more Cuban that Mexican, our little get together, which we held outside, inspired me to want to make this an annual event.
I've tried making salsa with raw garlic before, and it tastes great while it's fresh, but once it sits for about thirty minutes, the garlic slowly starts dominating the flavors. I wouldn't recommend any close conversations with anyone after eating raw garlic, it gives you just about the worst breath possible. Not to worry though, you can have a deliciously fresh salsa with garlic, without the dominating flavor by roasting it. There are a few different methods to roasting garlic, but the way that has been easiest for me is to simply put it in the broiler of my toaster oven, turning it over once. The result is a sweeter and milder garlic.
When I made this salsa the other day I knew that I couldn't make it as spicy as I normally would. I knew that my daughters, ages 3 and 18 months would be eating it, as well as my neighbors, who have stated several times that they can't eat spicy food. So instead of using a jalapeño pepper I choose to use a hungarian wax pepper. It was just a little hot, but after I removed the seeds and roasted the peppers (using the same method as the garlic) they were perfectly harmless. In the past I have made similar salsa recipes and blended them in the food processor, which works great, but since I had more time and wanted this salsa to present well I took the time to chop everything by hand using my chef's knife.
Roasted Garlic Salsa
4 cloves of roasted garlic- minced
2 hungarian wax peppers (or jalapeño) - roasted, skin and seeds removed and chopped
4 Roma tomatoes- chopped
2 small tomatillos- peeled and chopped
1/2 sweet Vidalia or red onion- chopped
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro- chopped
Juice of one lime
• Peel the garlic cloves and cut the peppers on half length-wise removing the stem and seeds
• Turn on the broiler of your oven or toaster oven, place the garlic and peppers (skin side up) on a pan and place under the broiler
• Flip the garlic over after about a minute, careful not to let it burn, let it cook another minute or so on the other side, ideally it will be golden brown on both sides when done
• Broil the peppers until the skin starts to turn brown and bubbly, let the peppers cool a minute and remove the skin
• You can either chop all of the ingredients by hand, or simply cut them small enough to put them in the food processor. The resulting textures will be different, but the taste will be about the same. If chopping the ingredients everything should be between 1/8 and 1/4 inch in size, except for the garlic which should be minced
• Squeeze the lime juice over the ingredients, careful not to get the seeds in the salsa (I like to squeeze it over a fork or sieve)
• Stir (or mix in the processor for about 15 seconds) everything together, place in a covered bowl and set aside for about 20 minutes to let the flavors mingle
• Serve with corn tortillas. ¡Comerse y disfrutar! (eat and enjoy!)