Friday, June 13, 2008

Salsa Bandera

This goes by many names, Salsa Cruda, on account of the ingredients are not cooked, or Pico De Gallo, but that's more of a Sinaloa/Chihuahua thing. Us Norteños call it Salsa Bandera because it contains the colors of the Mexican Flag.

Viva Los Norteños sez I.

You'll need

2 tomatoes
1 brown onion
2 jalepeños
1 lime
cilantro (that's dried cilantro in the plastic thing, the heat has killed all our leafies)

Take the top of the core out of the tomato, then cut a thin slice off of one side.

Dice that reasonably fine (I like about 1/4" cubes, but I likes it chunky if your own taste runs to less by all means, chop the fuck out of it)

Keep chopping until you have both tomatoes done and in your bowl. It's important to have a crockery, enamel, or otherwise non-reactive bowl lest the acids in the fruits and veggies turn stuff on you. (essentially that means no aluminum)

Peel the onion.

Chop the shit outta it.

Put it in the bowl with the chopped tomatoes.

Put on some rubber gloves now. Really. When you're handling chiles it's the best way to go. The alternative is to totally scrub your hands (which should be clean anyway) but I mean scrub with scouring powder and a rough cloth, to get the volatile oils from the chiles off your skin. It's easier and safer to use gloves.

Top and halve the chiles. Now, comes the question, to seed or not to seed? Taking the seeds and the pith from out of the chile will lessen the heat. I usually seed. Follow your own taste though. Since these add nothing but pure heat, and I like the flavor of the chiles I usually seed and use more chile.

A grapefruit spoon, with a serrated tip, works perfectly for that.

Mince the chiles, grate the lime zest into the bowl and squeeze the limes.

Mix, and dig in mis amigos.

This salsa rocks out loud for dipping, for tacos, for chilaquiles or huevos rancheros.

It's easy, and much, much better than anything you can buy.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic. I have an aversion to cilantro which is really annoying, but I'll have to see if I can just use a little a get the same effect.

I love the instructions: chop the shit outta. Betty Crocker could've used that!

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I meant to say thank you.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

It looks yummy. My first reaction to the tomato chopping pix was, "Now that is a knife." I'd be a much better chef with such a tool.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I grew up in the north east corner of Texas and we didn't know nuthin'
bout no chiles. I moved to West TX and decided to make some jalepeno jelly. I cut up all the peppers without gloves. Mu hands burned for a day and a half before a neighbor told me to scrub themwith Comet. I seems that chlorine is a base which neutralizes the acids in the peppers. Ahhh...relief.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No tomatillo?

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an aversion to cilantro which is really annoying, but I'll have to see if I can just use a little a get the same effect.

If worse comes to worst, it won't be authentic at all, but you could maybe try substituting a little parsley and see if you liked it that way. (Of course the spread then would probably more resemble a Lebanese condiment of some sort.)

6:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have knife envy, too.

Thanks, oddjob for the suggestion. I really wish I could get over my dislike of cilantro. I'm thinking small amounts working up to stronger flavor.....

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really wish I could get over my dislike of cilantro.

I don't like it, either. I've read before that some researchers have speculated that those who don't care for it have a sensitivity to some chemical the rest don't notice, one that makes cilantro taste soapy (which is why I don't like it).

I like parsley just fine, but my Latino housemate dislikes that, so in casa oddjob both are usually avoided. (I could grow both, but most years I'm too lazy to start them.)

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(... some chemical in the cilantro the rest don't notice ....)

8:56 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

if you don't like the cilantro you wouldn't be violating any cultural edicts by simply leaving it out. i've done so more than once.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If cilantro tastes soapy or sandy, that's genetic. If you just don't like it, then you just don't like it. My dad and one of my sisters had/has the sandy/soapy thing. I love the sensuality of it, myself, and count myself lucky.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my husbands favorite salsa to pile on whatever he is eating. I freeze cilantro for when I can't get it fresh, far up north here. The dried stuff they sell has no flavor whatsoever left!

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The dried stuff they sell has no flavor whatsoever left!

Dried parsley is the same. Some herbs just aren't worth using dried.

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oddjob - I'm glad it's not just me about cilantro. I'm like Sally in When Harry Met Sally when I go to a Mexican restaurant. May I have the ....,but without the cilantro. Yeah, I'm sure they love me for that.

I might experiment with some fresh parsley we grow here. Thanks for the clarification!

6:23 PM  
Blogger Sherry Pasquarello said...

hey, i found it to taste soapy too. i thought it was just me. it was freshy chopped and added to homemade salsa and i was the only one turned off so i didn't say anything because i was a guest and they had made everything by hand.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must be in the minority here, but I love cilantro. Also, do you take your tomatoes with or without salmonella? ;)

8:14 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i buy my tomatoes at the farmer's market. these came out of very well used boxes from the bed of a very well used pick up truck.

8:19 AM  
Blogger maurinsky said...

Looks wonderful, I can practically taste it.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like you also seeded the tomatoes before chopping/dicing them. Did you?

7:29 PM  
Blogger Angelos said...

It's all about the knives. My knives are my babies.

Do not be sucked by some 15-piece set of some crap made in China.

If you are on a budget, take all that money and buy one quality chef's knife.

Save some more pennies, and when you can, buy a paring knife.

They will last FOREVER as long as you sharpen them occasionally.

Next, I would go boner, cleaver, and carver.

But really, you're better off buying two $60 knives than a $120 set.

I, personally, use CutCo. US-made, and crazy-good.

8:52 PM  
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