Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cooked Tomato Salsa

This is the second part of my mini-series on using fresh tomatoes before they go bad. I was reading one of my favorite food blogs, La Fuji Mama, and one of her recent posts was what she calls "Tomato Salsa #95". Depending on the ripeness and type of the tomatoes, the strength of the onion, and the other additions you include, the amount of seasonings will be quite flexible. You'll see that with the recipe below: I started with La Fuji Mama's recipe as a base, then altered it to create a salsa that was spicy enough for my liking.

Cinnamon and cloves were quite a surprise to me when I read the ingredient list, as well as the lack of any type of hot peppers, jalapeno or otherwise. My directions reflect my test of a close match to the original recipe, then additions for spicing it up a little.

See the comments below about seasoning with the green and regular Tabasco sauces.

Ingredients (makes 2-3 cups)
  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add tomatoes and onion. Cook until tomatoes begin to change color and liquid bubbles, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Quickly drain tomato mixture in mesh strainer, then pour into food processor bowl. There will be some juices left.
  4. Add lime juice, vinegar, salt, oregano, cinnamon, and cloves. 
  5. Process using the Pulse button, very quickly, just long enough to chop tomatoes into smaller pieces. (This should take no more than 3 seconds.)
  6. Put entire mixture in Tupperware or other container, and place in fridge for at least one hour.
  7. Once salsa is cold, season using green and red Tabasco sauces. (I did 15-20 drops of green Tabasco, and around 10 drops regular Tabasco sauce.)
I found it necessary to drain the liquid from the tomatoes before processing them, and was glad I did. The final salsa was still watery but draining improved the consistency a lot.

Judging spiciness was difficult to when the salsa was still hot; all I could taste was the warm tomato flavor. After refrigerating it, it was a million times easier to see what flavors were needed. Green Tabasco sauce is a bit milder than the red, but still has a nice bite to it, so we seasoned with that first. The regular (red) Tabasco sauce was added at the end for that "bite" for which it is known.

I was also pleased that the cinnamon and cloves were successful in the final product. I could taste them but they also helped the spiciness of the Tabasco to stand out more.

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