My Dad's birthday was today, and I was asked to make some salsa and guacamole to go along with fajitas. Figuring that this would serve as good practice for the 2nd Annual Tequila and Salsa Party, and I never pass up the opportunity to make something tasty to share with family, I agreed. My guacamole recipe is pretty much set, with a slight variation from time to time, so the next step was figuring out exactly what sort of salsa I wanted to make.
Our friends, Erin and Sara, have been perfecting some awesome salsa over the last few months, so I really needed to figure something out that would really step it up a notch from my normal salsa (my normal salsa is pretty damn good!). After a little googling, I came across this Ersatz Papalote Salsa recipe from Chow.com that sounded worth trying. (Go ahead and click over to Chow and check out the back story on this recipe.) I decided that I would make this salsa, and another of my own creation, but one that varied from my normal salsa, and headed out to our local grocery store.
Armed with all of the ingredients to make the Ersatz Papalote Salsa, plus several more ingredients for my own salsa, and the guacamole, I headed home, where I began working my way through the recipe. One extra step I had to take was making my own ground dried passilla peppers, as I could not find any ready-made powder. Of course, I didn't mind doing this, as it takes no time at all, and makes for the freshest powder. As the Papalote Salsa was cooking, I started devising the game plan for the other salsa.
While googling for recipes, I saw a lot of people mentioning Muir Glen's Fire Roasted canned tomatoes, and I was lucky enough to find them at the store. (Typically I roast my own tomatoes under the broiler or on the grill, along with my peppers, garlic, and sometimes onion.) The plan was to use the Muir Glen Fire Roasted diced tomatoes, some chipotle peppers, roasted garlic, cilantro, onions (so far very similar to my normal salsa, minus the fresh tomatoes), and a new ingredient--red wine vinegar.
The Ersatz Papalote Salsa used white vinegar, and I know of at least one other really good salsa that uses vinegar, so I figured I'd try incorporating it into my salsa. I also decided to simmer most of my ingredients in some water for 20 minutes, prior to putting everything in the blender (this step came from the Ersatz Papalote Salsa). So into the pot went a big can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted tomatoes (drained), a handful of dried chipotle peppers, a couple of cloves of garlic (whole, and not roasted), salt, and about a cup and a half of water. I brought this to a boil, and then simmered for 20 minutes. At the end of the 20 minutes, I added 3 TB of red wine vinegar to the pot, and let that simmer for another minute. While all of this was cooking, I chopped a bunch of cilantro and white onion. Once it was done cooking, everything in the pot, along with the cilantro and onion, was dumped into the blender, where it was blended until mostly smooth. At this point, I gave it a quick taste, called it good, and jarred it up and placed it in the fridge to finish coming together overnight.
The next morning (this morning), I gave it a taste and decided that the red wine vinegar was a little overpowering, so I roasted a couple of roma tomatoes and a couple of jalapeno peppers. I poured the salsa back into the blender, and added the tomatoes and peppers and blended. I also added some lime juice. At this point, the salsa was still pretty tangy and very hot. The salsa went back in the fridge until it was time to go to the party, where it was a huge hit!
"Wait, what about the Ersatz Papalote Salsa," you ask? Well, it came out a little more orange than the picture on Chow.com, which could've been due to blending it for too long, or perhaps it was just due to a difference in the ingredients (I followed the recipe, but you never know), but it was delicious. Being in Texas, this salsa was very different from the normal salsa here, but it was good! The toasted pumpkin seeds added a richness that you wouldn't have expected, as well as a nuttiness that was excellent. As for the guacamole? 8 large avocados went into the guacamole, and it was gone by the end of lunch.
As I am writing this, I just finished off a small bowl of both salsa, and I must say that they've continued to come together as the day has worn on. They are delicious, with just the right amount of kick. The next time I make my new salsa, I think that I'll use a little less red wine vinegar, perhaps cutting it by a tablespoon, and adding a little white vinegar to the mix.
Hi Bryan Do you know anywhere on the internet in Europe, where it is possible to buy Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes, because I can't get it in Denmark, if not Muir Glen, another brand of fire roasted tomatoes? Best regards Ea Fisker
Posted by Ea Fisker on 11/4/2008 6:40:16 AM
Sorry for not replying earlier--I've never looked for it online, but I know you can get it from Amazon. Good luck!
Posted by Bryan on 3/15/2009 2:19:05 AM