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David Ross

eG Cook-Off #85: Mexican Salsa

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5 minutes ago, David Ross said:

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

 

I have never even thought about using cactus in salsa! Since I have a bag of frozen, chopped nopales that bought on impulse much too long ago,  I'm all ears to this idea. 

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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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Just now, David Ross said:

That reminds me, our local market has fresh chicharron, which, if I really want to be indulgent, is what I serve with salsa.  

IMG_1586.JPG

 

Mine has the dippable ones and also the honking pieces with meat. The local black community swarms at the familiar from American South treat. Fun to watch the women (guys push the cart) point at EXACTLY the piece they would like

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, heidih said:

I see the Mexican workers cutting nopales from our hillsides. Never been close enough to ask what they do. I think they are slimy like okra and usually cooked before inclusion like the salad shown here https://www.mexicoinmykitchen.com/how-to-cook-cactus-paddles/

 

Oddly enough, tomatillo husks are used to get rid of the sliminess in nopales.   It seems the tomatillo is way more interesting according to this blog post.  Don't toss those husks.


Edited by lemniscate context (log)
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Now on to another tomatillo salsa, but this one includes toasted, dried chiles.  The recipe I use a few years bask as the base calls it Roasted Garlic Tomatillo Salsa with 

but I just call it a Tomatillo-Dried Chile Salsa.  For the tomatillos I used the same technique as the fresh tomatillo salsa, run them under the broiler to soften and get some char.  For this batch I used dried chiles I had on hand, Ancho, Mulato and Cascabel.  The heat factor would be considered in the mild range.  When I make red chile sauce, I cut out the stem and remove all the seeds from dried chiles.  For this salsa, I cut out the stem and the main seed pod with scissors, but left some of the seeds.  The chiles were toasted in a dry, hot cast-iron skillet until they puff up and get soft, then you catch a whiff of a wonderful smokey aroma.   I added about a tablespoon of water to thin the salsa just a bit, then processed with, a lot, (10 cloves), of toasted garlic cloves, Mexican oregano, salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar and a few drops of liquid smoke and a bit of fresh cilantro from the garden. 

 

I've got some quail in the freezer so I think I might grill them and serve with the salsa.  Also thinking about serving this salsa with an egg dish for breakfast.

IMG_1781.JPG

 

IMG_1774.JPG

 

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, David Ross said:

Now on to another tomatillo salsa, but this one includes toasted, dried chiles.  The recipe I use a few years bask as the base calls it Roasted Garlic Tomatillo Salsa with 

but I just call it a Tomatillo-Dried Chile Salsa.  For the tomatillos I used the same technique as the fresh tomatillo salsa, run them under the broiler to soften and get some char.  For this batch I used dried chiles I had on hand, Ancho, Mulato and Cascabel.  The heat factor would be considered in the mild range.  When I make red chile sauce, I cut out the stem and remove all the seeds from dried chiles.  For this salsa, I cut out the stem and the main seed pod with scissors, but left some of the seeds.  The chiles were toasted in a dry, hot cast-iron skillet until they puff up and get soft, then you catch a whiff of a wonderful smokey aroma.   I added about a tablespoon of water to thin the salsa just a bit, then processed with, a lot, (10 cloves), of toasted garlic cloves, Mexican oregano, salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar and a few drops of liquid smoke and a bit of fresh cilantro from the garden. 

 

I've got some quail in the freezer so I think I might grill them and serve with the salsa.  Also thinking about serving this salsa with an egg dish for breakfast.

IMG_1781.JPG

 

IMG_1774.JPG

 

 

 

 

It's a pretty thick and deep flavored salsa, so I'm re-thinking what is the best way to serve it

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@David Ross, your salsa looks really good. For the eggs, I'd just soft scramble them (with cheese) and scoop the salsa on top. Not sure about the quail. I'd be happy to have a small bowl of that on the side (i.e., don't need to "incorporate" that into your cooking).

 

You say it's "thick and deep flavored." If you want to mitigate that, maybe add some vinegar or lime juice. Or even a bit more oil.

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15 hours ago, David Ross said:

It's a pretty thick and deep flavored salsa, so I'm re-thinking what is the best way to serve it

Well I think what I'm going to do is serve the quail with the first tomatillo salsa verde I did.  I think that salsa will work better with the quail.  Then this latest roasted tomatillo salsa with chiles, I think it would be better served with some roasted pork.

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On 7/3/2020 at 7:40 AM, heidih said:

I see the Mexican workers cutting nopales from our hillsides. Never been close enough to ask what they do. I think they are slimy like okra and usually cooked before inclusion like the salad shown here https://www.mexicoinmykitchen.com/how-to-cook-cactus-paddles/

Our local Sunday (now closed for CV) flea market had several vendors of cactus paddles.    They each had a worker who shaved the spines off each one.    Sold by the pound.    I have bought them several times.    Just boiled them up until tender to your taste, then slice into "ribbons" and dress as you please as salad.   They do not have an assertive flavor, perhaps somewhat citrusy.    Fair nutritional value; vitamins and minerals.

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eGullet member #80.

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I most often make a fresh green tomatillo salsa w/ green chilies and cilantro .  It’s a stable on the tables of relatives in Mexico 

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Last night I paired the Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Quail and  Hominy Salad.  The quail was delicious with the salsa, but I found a new way to use salsa.  It wasn't planned, but the salsa and hominy sort of ran together and I thought, uh-oh.  The image certainly looks like a mess, but the tomatillo salsa was delicious as a dressing for the hominy. I had just tossed the hominy with olive oil and a touch of apple cider vinegar, with the salsa mixed in it was much more flavorful.  

 

I butterflied the quail and rubbed it with olive oil, then seasoned with salt and pepper.  Didn't want to go to the trouble of firing up the outdoor grill, so I just seared it in a hot pan, then into the oven for about 10 minutes.  Delicious little birds.  A mild game flavor and easy to pick up with your fingers. I buy them at a local Asian grocery store where they are incredibly cheap, $8 for 8 quail.  

 

The salad is yellow hominy, some diced tomato, diced onion, diced radish, cilantro.  I forgot to add some diced jalapeno.  Seasoned with chili powder, vinegar, olive oil and a little salt and pepper.  This would be a delicious salad at a summer picnic, and I think more delicious dressed in the roasted tomatillo salsa.  So now I'm open to using salsa not just as a separate part of a dish, but mixing into dishes.  

Quail with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa.JPG

 

 

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So was the hominy pr-treated in some way or just straight outa can or boiled? I love the stuff but never considered it in a salad type prep. Oh and I have quail envy!

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1 hour ago, heidih said:

So was the hominy pr-treated in some way or just straight outa can or boiled? I love the stuff but never considered it in a salad type prep. Oh and I have quail envy!

Just out of the can and rinsed in a colander.  It's a brand made in Mexico.  I buy the yellow hominy because I think it has more flavor. 

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A blurry photo from the dinner thread and a 2015 post of Grilled Flank Steak with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa.  This salsa looks a lot different than the one I've posted in our discussion, but it does look delicious.  As with most beef prices where I live, flank steak is beyond the budget right now, but I can get very good skirt steak at the local Mexican market for a good price.  So I've realized that a tomatillo salsa is versatile to work with scallops and also a beefy cut of meat.

Grilled Flank Steak.jpg

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@David Ross, your roasted tomatillo salsa looks like it has red tomatoes in it (left edge of plate). Maybe my taste buds are dead, but IMO, red tomatoes have so much more flavor than tomatillos. Tomatillos have a texture and I understand that, but given a choice, I would choose a red tomato. What is it about tomatillos that you / people like? (Maybe I'm missing something.)

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2 minutes ago, MokaPot said:

@David Ross, your roasted tomatillo salsa looks like it has red tomatoes in it (left edge of plate). Maybe my taste buds are dead, but IMO, red tomatoes have so much more flavor than tomatillos. Tomatillos have a texture and I understand that, but given a choice, I would choose a red tomato. What is it about tomatillos that you / people like? (Maybe I'm missing something.)

If I'm remembering this salsa had both red tomatoes and tomatillos, but I would agree that in season, local tomatoes have a lot of flavor and are sweeter than a tomatillo.  But I like the roasted tomatillo salsa I posted earlier. I like the piquant flavor of the tomatillo.  

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14 minutes ago, David Ross said:

If I'm remembering this salsa had both red tomatoes and tomatillos, but I would agree that in season, local tomatoes have a lot of flavor and are sweeter than a tomatillo.  But I like the roasted tomatillo salsa I posted earlier. I like the piquant flavor of the tomatillo.  

Yes different animals who sometimes connect well

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On 7/5/2020 at 3:27 PM, David Ross said:

Now on to another tomatillo salsa, but this one includes toasted, dried chiles.  The recipe I use a few years bask as the base calls it Roasted Garlic Tomatillo Salsa with 

but I just call it a Tomatillo-Dried Chile Salsa.  For the tomatillos I used the same technique as the fresh tomatillo salsa, run them under the broiler to soften and get some char.  For this batch I used dried chiles I had on hand, Ancho, Mulato and Cascabel.  The heat factor would be considered in the mild range.  When I make red chile sauce, I cut out the stem and remove all the seeds from dried chiles.  For this salsa, I cut out the stem and the main seed pod with scissors, but left some of the seeds.  The chiles were toasted in a dry, hot cast-iron skillet until they puff up and get soft, then you catch a whiff of a wonderful smokey aroma.   I added about a tablespoon of water to thin the salsa just a bit, then processed with, a lot, (10 cloves), of toasted garlic cloves, Mexican oregano, salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar and a few drops of liquid smoke and a bit of fresh cilantro from the garden. 

 

I've got some quail in the freezer so I think I might grill them and serve with the salsa.  Also thinking about serving this salsa with an egg dish for breakfast.

IMG_1781.JPG

 

IMG_1774.JPG

 

 

 

 

For this Roasted Chile-Tomatillo Salsa I ended up using it with a slow-roasted pork shoulder that was marinated overnight in a sour orange adobo.  I buy pork shoulders or legs at a local supermarket that sells them with the skin on, what my Father called the pork "rind."  (He meant fresh pork rind, but also loved bags of fried pork rinds).  The thick skin holds in that underlayer of fat which keeps the meat juicy during the slow-roasting, and I happen to be one who likes eating that delicious fat with the pork meat.  (I usually don't allow bar codes on limes in photos.....)

Pork Shoulder.JPG

 

I started with an old recipe from Saveur for "Crispy Roast Pork," for the adobo marinade then tinkered with it for my tastes and added some more ingredients from the original recipe.  I buy bottled sour orange juice at the local Mexican market.  When I taste it I don't find it overly sour, but I'm sure my family and friends wouldn't like it as they only know the taste of sweet orange juice.  This adobo is a thick paste that I rubbed into slits in the meat and all around the pork, then in a large covered container to marinate overnight.  This beast isn't pretty at this stage, but this is what it looks like after rubbed with the thick adobo.  For this adobo I also added one small packet of dried annatto seasoning for color. 

 

This was a 7 1/2 lb. pork shoulder

2 tbsp. toasted cumin seeds

2 tbsp. black peppercorns

4 dried ancho chiles, seeds removed and toasted

12 cloves garlic, toasted (like I did for the tomatillo salsa)

1 onion, toasted (like I did for the tomatillo salsa)

2 tbsp. sugar

1 cup sour orange juice

2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp. dried cayenne pepper

 

Blend all the ingredients in a blender to make a thick paste.  (Thin with more orange juice or water if needed).  Cut some slits into the underside of the pork shoulder and rub in the adobo and then rub the adobo all over the pork shoulder.  Place in a large container and cover and refrigerate overnight.  Next will be serving the pork with the Roasted Chile-Tomatillo Salsa above in street tacos.  

 

Pork with adobo.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The pork shoulder turned out delicious.  Very moist and juicy and I kept all the fat and didn't trim it off.  Served as simple street tacos.  Sometimes I use corn tortillas, but I had been having a taste for flour tortillas so used those, then a bed of shredded cabbage.  I didn't toss the cabbage with any dressing, but it would be good with a little olive oil and lime juice.  Then thin slices of the pork shoulder and fat.  The soft bark on the pork added a lot of flavor.  Then topped with a spoonful of the Roasted Chile-Tomatillo Salsa and served with a lime wedge.  The deeper flavors of this salsa went very well with pork.  There is so much pork leftover I'll have plenty to serve in a chili or stew, freeze for later, sandwiches, and probably some crispy tacos.  

 

Another question for everyone, have you ever frozen salsa?  Did you find it had flavor once it was thawed?

 

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder.JPG

 

Slow-Roasted Pork.JPG

 

Pork Shoulder Street Tacos.JPG

 

IMG_1814.JPG

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Kinda drooling on the pork here. Freezing salsa is not in my rexpeience but if you are not going to use it in time - do it and let us know. Oh that pork bark! I do get a hankering for flour tortillas on occasion They have to be super thin - like

Guerrero Tortillas De Harina Riquisimas 10ct - image 1 of 3

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2 minutes ago, heidih said:

Kinda drooling on the pork here. Freezing salsa is not in my rexpeience but if you are not going to use it in time - do it and let us know. Oh that pork bark! I do get a hankering for flour tortillas on occasion They have to be super thin - like

Guerrero Tortillas De Harina Riquisimas 10ct - image 1 of 3

I love the flour tortillas and should use them more.  I like to put them on a stovetop cast iron grill pan to warm and soften them.  I thought they went better with this pork than corn tortillas.  The bark and fat is soft and very delicious.  I'll do a test with both the roasted tomatillo salsa verde and this toasted chile-tomatillo salsa and let everyone know how it tastes after being thawed.

 

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Just a note on the tortillas. When I have a gas fired oven I like to simply lay the on the grate  with heat. It is probably mental but it feel more authentico to me ') (they generally do not stick)

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Sometimes I find that the original idea of a dish actually turns out to be better over the course of the next few days when I change how I serve it.  This is the hominy salad I did with the quail, but I found that it's actually better as a tostada.  A bed of cabbage slaw on top of a crispy tostada shell, then some of the hominy salad and the Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde on the side.  Quick and easy and a very tasty dish that's full of vibrant, fresh flavors.  

 

IMG_1826.JPG

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On ‎7‎/‎3‎/‎2020 at 10:34 AM, David Ross said:

That reminds me, our local market has fresh chicharron, which, if I really want to be indulgent, is what I serve with salsa.  

IMG_1586.JPG

Man, I love making chicharrons, but they are a pain.  

 

I get the fresh pork skin, shave off any leftover strands, boil it in some salted water.   Then cut them into strips and  Let them dry over night in the fridge.  Then dry them in a 200 deg F over for 8-12 hours until they are like fiberglass.   Break them into small pieces.    Then the absolute magic happens.  Fry them up and PUFF.....magic.

 

My choice to season them is I grate lime zest, some hatch chile powder and salt and mix that together and toss them with the just fried chicharrons.  

 

YUM!

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