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eG Cook-Off #85: Mexican Salsa


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On 6/27/2020 at 12:49 AM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I prefer a chunky salsa.  Tonight I made a batch of Salsa Mexicana from Tacos Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman.

 

Salsa09302019.png

 

 

 

 

this looks great and I would call it a pico de gallo or salsa fresco as opposed to a traditional salsa

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I mentioned earlier in this topic that a batch of our salsa cooked down so much that it's more of a tomato jam. We're into one of those jars right now. This morning's breakfast featured eggs scrambled with cherry tomatoes, some chopped sausage, cheese, avocado and that tomato jam. Nothing crunchy about it as with pico de gallo, but a nice complement to the meal.

 

20200628_123013.jpg

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I posted the meal in the dinner thread but for the purposes of this thread, the salsas are guacamole taquero and chile tamulado. I've decided I actually prefer this version of guac over the more common variety. It's lighter, brighter and easily poured onto tacos. For that one, I used tomatillos, serranos, onion, garlic, cilantro, avocado, lime juice and salt. The tamulado, Yucatan style habanero salsa, is a hot one. I'm a fan of heat but that one almost requires the taming of the crema to be really enjoyable. It's a big pile of roasted habaneros and roasted garlic blitzed with salt and Seville orange juice... which was unavailable so I used the common sub of equal parts orange, lime and grapefruit juices. Based on the pictures I've seen, green habs are usually used but red and orange are what I had so that's what I used.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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6 minutes ago, MokaPot said:

@Tri2Cook, your sauces look really good. The guac is the one that's at the bottom of the photo, correct? Would it stay that color until the next day (if you had leftover)? TIA.


Yep, the one at the bottom. I've had some sit in the fridge for almost a week and it was still that color. I have no idea how long it would have continued, that's when I finished eating it. I roast the tomatillos, onion, garlic and serranos until soft, add the cilantro and avocado and blitz everything with a stick blender then adjust to taste with lime and salt.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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On 6/28/2020 at 7:24 PM, MokaPot said:

Would it stay that color until the next day (if you had leftover)?


Just because you asked... this is ~30 hours later and it's actually a nicer green than it looks in the picture, I'm just a bad photographer. Definitely not at all brown. :D

guacday2.jpg

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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This is my Roasted Tomatillo Salsa.  Sometimes I vary the ratio of tomatillos, adding a few more or less, adding more jalapeno, that sort of thing.  The fresh garden cilantro is much more flavorful than the stuff in the grocery store since I just go out back and cut what I need off the cilantro pot on the patio.  I peel the skin off the tomatillos and rinse to get off that sticky texture, then on a sheet pan under the broiler to soften and get some charred bits.  These tomatillos were more bitter than I like, so I added about a teaspoon of sugar.  Served with a prepared pork tamale from the grocery store.  They are made by a family business in Utah and are really good, but the local Mexican grocer and cafe wasn't opened yesterday morning when I drove by. Their tamales are made fresh every day of the year.  I buy Mexican oregano for this salsa.  It's whole leaf oregano with the flowers that is dried.  Just rub it and it releases the fragrance.  I use it in Italian dishes too because it has a lot of flavor.  I prefer charred onions and garlic over raw for this salsa. Everything goes into a blender and then blended to combine.  It stays a vivid green color covered and kept in the fridge.  

 

1lb. tomatillos

1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno

1/2 yellow onion, charred

4 cloves garlic, charred

1 tsp. sugar as needed

Salt and black pepper

2 tsp. Mexican oregano

 

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa.JPG

 

IMG_1735.JPG

 

 

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Beautiful color and sure the salsa tastes great. Your ingredients sound pretty typical though heavier on the cilantro than I am used to. Being a cilantro lover that works for me. I need to try your charring method.  That tamale looks nice and "fluffy". I miss the tamale vendor calling out at a house I used to dog-sit at. His times were irregular but usually around 4pm. The dog reacted loudly to his bell so we rarely had to chase him down the street.  He had chicken (boring), cheese w/ roasted poblanos, and red pork. Had them strapped to a wheely cart in an Igloo. 

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3 minutes ago, heidih said:

Beautiful color and sure the salsa tastes great. Your ingredients sound pretty typical though heavier on the cilantro than I am used to. Being a cilantro lover that works for me. I need to try your charring method.  That tamale looks nice and "fluffy". I miss the tamale vendor calling out at a house I used to dog-sit at. His times were irregular but usually around 4pm. The dog reacted loudly to his bell so we rarely had to chase him down the street.  He had chicken (boring), cheese w/ roasted poblanos, and red pork. Had them strapped to a wheely cart in an Igloo. 

These tamales were pretty good, a decent ratio of meat and the masa.  The local store makes thousands of these tamales during the Holidays and people buy them by the dozens.

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1 hour ago, David Ross said:

These tamales were pretty good, a decent ratio of meat and the masa.  The local store makes thousands of these tamales during the Holidays and people buy them by the dozens.

 

A good tamale is a wonderful thing, and a reliably good tamale-maker is a lovely resource. I have lost track of the number of times I've been disappointed by having a huge slug of masa surrounding a miniscule few shreds of meat. The solution, of course, is to make my own...maybe someday....

 

David, is that the main difference between Mexican oregano and the "standard" (Greek, I assume) oregano, that the flowers are left on? I always assumed it was a different variety. I confess I've never looked into it. Comparing the Oregano Indio (which may or may not be Mexican oregano) that I have from @rancho_gordo with the organic oregano from the grocery store shows a visible difference, I admit. The Rancho Gordo stuff is on the right in this picture.

 

20200630_135536.jpeg

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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11 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

A good tamale is a wonderful thing, and a reliably good tamale-maker is a lovely resource. I have lost track of the number of times I've been disappointed by having a huge slug of masa surrounding a miniscule few shreds of meat. The solution, of course, is to make my own...maybe someday....

 

David, is that the main difference between Mexican oregano and the "standard" (Greek, I assume) oregano, that the flowers are left on? I always assumed it was a different variety. I confess I've never looked into it. Comparing the Oregano Indio (which may or may not be Mexican oregano) that I have from @rancho_gordo with the organic oregano from the grocery store shows a visible difference, I admit. The Rancho Gordo stuff is on the right in this picture.

 

20200630_135536.jpeg

Yes the Mexican is a different variety but usually does have the flowers left on. The Rancho Gordo version on the right looks different than what I buy at the Mexican market, but they always have the best products....and beans.  The Rancho Gordo one looks like larger leaves and the flowers maybe at a farther stage of blooming than what I have.  I'll take a photo of what I use for comparison.  

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@Smithy, the Oregano Indio from RG always looks like yours, a bigger leaf. It's delicious, but a splurge, compared to the price of any Mexican oregano I've bought in my local spice shop. It's been a long time since I bought Greek oregano, but the taste difference between any Mexican and the RG Indio is pretty distinct in my experience.  

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My incredibly inexpensive and highly fragrant oregano from either El Guapo or Julia's. Source Ralphs/Kroger. I put it in a jar so supplier in bin. El Guapo is $1.69 for 1/2 oz (that is a lot of dried herb)

IMG_1393.JPG

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Rather than roasting the tomatillos under a broiler, might I suggest treating them similarly to the first post, where the raw ingredients are 'toasted' in a pan - in fact, I continue to cook my tomatillo salsa in the roasting pan and turn it into a sweet/spicy salsa (caramelized tomatillos get a nice sweetness to them).

 

Basic ingredients which can easily be added onto:

 

Tomatillos sliced in half

Some type of onion

Garlic

2+ types of chili

Cilantro

 

Very basic, but many routes can be taken from that starting point.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, TicTac said:

Rather than roasting the tomatillos under a broiler, might I suggest treating them similarly to the first post, where the raw ingredients are 'toasted' in a pan - in fact, I continue to cook my tomatillo salsa in the roasting pan and turn it into a sweet/spicy salsa (caramelized tomatillos get a nice sweetness to them).

 

 And I wish I had a comal again but I think the "broiler" depending on your kitchen set-up is a good resource. I've taken to doing my tofu there - they laugh and then they smile at the table.

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1 hour ago, heidih said:

My incredibly inexpensive and highly fragrant oregano from either El Guapo or Julia's. Source Ralphs/Kroger. I put it in a jar so supplier in bin. El Guapo is $1.69 for 1/2 oz (that is a lot of dried herb)

IMG_1393.JPG

Yes that's exactly what I buy at a local Mexican market. 

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3 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Rancho Gordo offers both Mexican Oregano and Oregano Indio.  I have a jar of each.  Somewhere Steve explained the difference.

 

The Rancho Gordo website explains each with decent clarity, I think:

Mexican oregano

Oregano indeo

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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4 hours ago, heidih said:

 And I wish I had a comal again but I think the "broiler" depending on your kitchen set-up is a good resource. I've taken to doing my tofu there - they laugh and then they smile at the table.

Nothing against the broiler!  Certainly would make it easier - though now that I think of it, you most likely will get different end products as I would think the pan method will reduce the overall salsa further.

 

A recent chili order brought a new treat to experiment with, Morita peppers.  Really smokey with nice fruity flavors.  Roasted and blended, they make a great salsa addition.

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I decided to pair the Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with scallops, something I've never done before. I love serving seafood with salsa and I thought maybe this salsa would work with the scallops since they are very sweet and rich and the salsa would bring in some heat, a bit of bitterness and fresh flavors.  For sea scallops I use the basic technique that Thomas Keller uses and is printed in his cookbook Ad Hoc at Home.  Dry the scallops, then heat up clarified butter in a skillet. He recommends not using a non-stick skillet but stainless like an All-Clad.  I used my old Calphalon skillet and it worked just fine.  The butter is heated to medium-heat and the scallops sear about 3 minutes per side to get golden and caramelized.  Then served with my homemade corn tortilla chips.

 

For the chips I cut thin corn tortillas and cut them into 8 wedges.  Then into a deep-fryer at 350 and fry until golden, takes about 2 minutes.  I drain them on a rack over a cookie sheet, and just out of the fryer season with salt and chipotle chili powder.  Just some sliced red radishes on the side.  Next I'll be moving into a tomato salsa and some salsa made with dried chilies.

 

Scallops with Tomatillo Salsa.JPG

 

IMG_1755.JPG

 

 

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24 minutes ago, David Ross said:

 Next I'll be moving into a tomato salsa and some salsa made with dried chilies.

 

 

Great looking scallops. Looking forward to see what dried chilies you play with. The complex smells of various types make me happy.

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The local Mexican grocery store and cantina, DeLeon Foods, doesn't open right now until 11am due to shorter business hours, so I'll make a run over there tommorrow and look over the array of dried chiles.  They have a very good selection, but this is a photo of the dried chile, spice and herb aisle at Fiesta Foods in Yakima, WA.  It's well worth the trip for us to make the 3 hour drive down there on occasion and make it an event for a day.  

IMG_0976.JPG

 

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@David Ross 

 

I grew up in California

 

and where I lived they eventually had stores just like that

 

hope you get some fresh Mexican Chorizo

 

get the higher priced stuff ( still very inexpensive )

 

the cheapest stuff if you look at the ingredients 

 

is made mostly of seasoned ground Pocine Lymph nodes

 

Im not sure I want to eat another animals immune system , personally

 

most of these stores had a Taco / Burrito ' Bar ' , making some fabulous stuff !

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Fiesta Foods in Yakima is in the heart of Central, WA and the home to our greatest agricultural region.  These are a few more photos of Fiesta Foods when I made the trip down there.  And, it made me think of another topic for our Salsa discussion.  Has anyone ever used cactus in a Mexican salsa?

IMG_0973.JPG

 

Fresh Chorizo-

IMG_0974 (1).JPG

 

IMG_0967.JPG

 

IMG_0978.JPG

 

IMG_0964.JPG

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16 minutes ago, rotuts said:

most of these stores had a Taco / Burrito ' Bar ' , making some fabulous stuff !

 

My really big one that is maybe 15 or 20 minutes away has a great fresh salsa bar and nice cold selection like shrimp aguachile as well as freshly fried chicharron

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