First, I started with a tomato salsa recipe from Cooks Illustrated. The recipe called for tomato, jalapeno chile, garlic, red onion, cilantro, salt and pepper, and lime juice.
My tools (from left to right): Board scraper (to move prepared ingredients to bowls, clear the board, and scrape it clean), Paring knife (to core tomatoes and remove membrane from the chile), Chef's knife, and a teaspoon (to remove seeds and ribs from the chile).
- Each tomato is sliced in half.
- Tomatoes are then placed face (the cut part) down and sliced parallel to the board in 3/8" widths
- Two at a time, the tomato rounds are sliced into 3/8" strips
- Then rotated, and sliced into 3/8" cubes
I then placed the diced tomatoes into a collander over a bowl to allow excess moisture to remove itself. About 30 minutes should do it.
I then diced the onions. Keeping the "base" of the onion intact, I sliced 3/8" parallel cuts into the onion followed by 3/8" vertical cuts. Since I didn't cut through the base, the onion held mostly together. Slicing through the onion at this point produced a suitably even dice.
Next, I minced the garlic. Cutting the garlic is performed in a similar manner as dicing the onions, except with smaller distances.
I then cut the chile in half lengthwise and used my teaspoon to remove the seeds and ribs. These I placed aside for use later to adjust the hotness of the salsa. I then pressed each chile half flat and using a paring knife removed the bitter membrane from the inside of the chile. The chile in this state should have a "fruity" taste with a hint of spicyness. I julienned (cut into long strips) the pepper halves and then minced.
Grabbing a small handful of cilantro, I bunched it up and just sliced away to produce the chopped cilantro I needed.
Then, I threw the garlic, onion, and cilantro on top of the tomatoes as they finish draining.
After the tomatoes have drained for thirty minutes, I poured out the liquid from the bowl emptied the contents of the collander into the bowl. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (I find it easier to sprinkle and manage than table salt), a half twist of my pepper grinder, and about 2 tablespoons of lime juice. I then mixed the salsa together.
Now that I had the salsa, Tina and I both tasted it on Tostidos White Corn Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips. The salsa was pretty good, but lacked something. After mincing and mixing in two more cloves of garlic and throwing in some more salt, we found the optimum mixture of flavor.
The final ingredients list ended up as follows:
- 1-1/2 pounds firm, ripe tomatoes, diced
- 1 large jalapeno chile, seeded, minced
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
The chile seeds can be minced and mixed in for varying degrees of hotness. Tina prefers mild, so I only used a few of the seeds.}?>
|1-1/2 pounds firm, ripe tomatoes||dice & drain|
|1 large jalapeno chile, seeded||mince|
|1/2 cup red onion||dice|
|3 garlic cloves||mince|
|1/4 cup cilantro leaves||chop|
|1 teaspoon salt|
|Pinch of ground pepper|
|2 tablespoons lime juice|