So the weather today on the Eastern Shore of Virginia is crappy. It’s the tail end of a Nor’easter. Off and on rain, lots of wind and the temperature is in the low 50’s. The weather had canceled our Chesapeake Bay fishing excursion last week and put the ka-bosh on a neighboring town’s celebration this week. There was supposed to be an outdoor festival in Cheritan, but from the looks of it, the party moved inside the firehouse. Probably the best decision. Judging by the number of cars parked around the firehouse, it was well attended.
I decided against leaving the house entirely, save a trip to the local grocery store for mason jar lids. Today was “Homemade Salsa Day” and in between football games, it was time to get a cookin’! This salsa was a variation of my normal recipe and it turned out well. Normally I use fresh cilantro, but none was to be had. Time to start that herb garden, I guess! It was also my first time using a pressure cooker for canning and I can happily report that three out of four jars sealed the first time. There’s always one, as they say, and it took three tries to get the last jar of salsa to seal correctly. It’s well cooked, to be sure.
So when you have an hour or two and the weather inside the house is better than the weather outside, get yourself some chips and make some of this salsa. It has just a little bite to it, but I focused on good taste rather than heat. You can always up the quantity of peppers or go for broke with a few Serranos, that’s your choice. My salsa has good flavor, but every once in a while you will get a piece of jalapeno. Then you’ll want to stomp your boot, saying “That pepper is kickin’ my butt!” Enjoy.
2 28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
3 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (use food service-quality protective gloves, for your own safety!)
5 Chile de Arbol peppers, seeded and chopped (hopefully you didn’t take the gloves off yet!)
5 Bunches of fresh cilantro* (1 bunch chopped finely, the rest chopped coarsely)
* 4 tablespoons of dried, chopped cilantro will work, if the cilantro truck didn’t arrive…
4 Tablespoons of minced garlic
2 Tablespoons of black pepper
2 Tablespoons of crushed red pepper
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Tablespoon of salt (don’t leave this out unless you are on a low sodium diet, in which case you shouldn’t be eating salsa anyway.)
Assemble your ingredients. Seed, chop, measure as appropriate.
In a big bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hand; you want big bits and little bits. Wash your hands afterward because the acidity in the tomatoes may affect your delicate skin. Or put your hand in a gallon zip lock baggie and viola, instant tomato crushing protective gear! (my personal favorite technique.)
Add everything else.
Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is mixed well.
Poof. You’re done. Dip in some chips and you are good to go. Not that I would know, but a decent margarita on the rocks (no salt) would probably wash it down real good!
This makes about 5 pints. I canned four and served 1 pint to the family. I used a pressure cooker to be safe and after three tries I had all four pints ready for travel up north as gifts.
The weather seems to be getting worse so maybe I’ll stuff some pimento cheese into my remaining jalapeno peppers, bread ’em and deep fry them. Ahhh, but that’s another post….
Try the salsa and let me know what you think!