My friend Arturo taught me how to make this simple salsa the other day. He calls it "Salsa Fresca", which he says is what this salsa is called where he's from in Mexico.
What we in the states usually call salsa fresca, a chunky salsa with chopped fresh tomatoes, onions and chiles, is something completely different.
Looking for similar recipes in some of Diana Kennedy's books I find several references to "salsa de jitomate" or simply, "tomato salsa", and none for salsa fresca. But that's not surprising. The names for dishes, and even ingredients, can vary widely, depending on where you are in the country.
Fortunately, the salsa is more simple than its name's etymology.
Likely you've had it before, if you've ever stepped inside a taqueria. There you usually have a choice of salsas, one smooth, red, and hot, the other made with chopped fresh tomatoes, onions, and chiles.
This would be the first—the smooth, red and hot one. It's great for dipping tortilla chips, or over quesadillas.
Simple Cooked Tomato Salsa
- 2 medium sized fresh tomatoes, cored and cut in half
- 1 whole jalapeño chili pepper (or a serrano), stem removed, chopped
- 5 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
Put tomatoes, jalapeño, garlic, salt, and water into a blender. Purée for 20 seconds, until completely liquified.
Simmer for 15 minutes:
Heat olive oil in a sauce pan on medium high. Pour purée into pan. Bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture completely changes color from light red to a much darker red, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
Keep refrigerated when not using.