I love salsa. I love combining sweet and spicy, crunchy and smooth, tangy and zesty. Food to me is textures and combinations and flavours and seasonal. And this, my friends, is the season to salsa!
(makes enough to feed many hungry people, and can/ preserve some too!)
This thing with this recipe, and pretty much all my recipes, is you can use what you have and adjust it to suit yourself. There is no strict measurements needed, just follow your tastebuds.
- 8 to 10 capsicums (any colour)
- 4 to 5 cups of diced tomatoes (about 8 to 10 tomatoes)
- 2 chillies (to suit... lots, none, habaneros, mild ones, whatever)
- 1 to 2 red onions (I like one cooked/ caramelised, and one kept raw for the crunch/ zing factor)
- 1 large handful of coriander
- 2 limes, juiced
- 4 garlic cloves (again, depending on your tastes, but I love garlic)
- generous splash of oil (macadamia oil, maybe coconut oil)
- optional 1 tablespoon of a less refined brown sugar (like rapadura, panela)
- lots of freshly ground salt, and pepper too, if you like
- Peel one onion, then cut it in half. Place in a large heat proof bowl.
- Cut your capsicums into slices, removing the seeds/ inner as you go. Try to cut the slices, so each piece has a fairly flat surface. Place in the bowl with the onions.
- Very carefully (or wearing rubber gloves), slice the chillies in half, and remove the seeds and membranes (unless you really like your salsa mouth-burningly hot). Put the chillies into the bowl too.
- Drizzle a bit of oil all over the onion, chillies and capsicums, toss it around a bit.
- Note: if you want to chargrill the tomatoes, you can do that too, but I like when they retain a fleshy, firmness, so I keep them raw.
- OK, now to the fun part. Burn those suckers! On a hot BBQ, grill or in your oven, char the onions, capsicums and chillies, until the onion is caramelised and softened, and the chillies and capsicum skins are literally all blackened and burnt. You can turn the capsicums over, but don't let the inside flesh get too burnt, it is the skin you want to get very burnt. The more blackened it is, the easier it is to get off. You want the capsicum and chillies flesh to be soft and sweet, but as they are 'sweating' (next part) they will continue to soften up. Be careful when chargrilling, as sometimes the oil pools in the scoops of a capsicum slice, and tries to catch itself on fire! You need those eyebrows.
- Once they are done, put the capsicum and chillies into the big bowl, and cover with a plate or bowl, which causes the pieces to 'sweat' and the skins loosen up. Allow them to cool enough to handle them.
- In the mean time, start chopping, baby. Finely dice your raw onion, and your caramelised onion. Finely chop your coriander. Crush or finely dice your garlic cloves. Juice the limes. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Put it all into a large bowl, including the juice off the tomatoes.
- Now, if your capsicum and chillies are cool enough to handle, you should be easily able to slide the burnt skins off. Discard those, and put the soft flesh onto a chopping board. Dice all the pieces of skin-free capsicum, and the chillies... being careful when handling the chillies (again, be sensible and wear gloves, or be like me, and try to do the 'no touch' technique!!)
- Add the diced capsicums and chillies to the bowl with the other ingredients, and the juices/ oil from the capsicums and chilli too. If it has a little charredness to it, that's OK, in fact, that is GOOD!
- Now, stir it all up, and have a taste. Does it need a little sugar to bring out the flavours? Does it need a bit more garlic? What about salt? I like salt, I think it really adds to the flavour, so go on, and grind some sea salt or rock salt in. Taste again. Maybe you like some freshly ground black pepper, or some ground cumin or coriander in yours? Follow those tastebuds... they won't lie to you, I swear!
- OK, you can do all sorts of things with this salsa. Eat it straight out of the big bowl with a spoon would be a good way, but even better is served with Chilli Con Queso, corn chips, and carrot sticks! You can put it on fritters, in tacos, in a tortilla stack, with any BBQd meat. You can probably freeze any leftover or excess, but I have a pressure canner, so I canned some too. (Although it has acidic tomatoes and lime juice, I feel it has too many other low acid ingredients to be safely boiling-water bathed). You can also Lacto-ferment Salsa, and it is amazing (check this recipe for accurate measurements needed)!