by Kate Heyhoe
Makes about 1-1/2 cups
Don't be afraid to try fire-roasting. It takes only a few minutes and is much more simple than it first appears. Fire-roasting deepens the flavor of vegetables, adding a smoky touch and bringing out the natural sugars. For this recipe, don't peel the charred outer skins of the tomatoes or green onions away—leave them on for the extra taste and color they add to the salsa.
This salsa packs a surprise flavor: basil. Most salsas use cilantro, but for a change of pace and to suit those who dislike cilantro, I've added the faintly anise-flavor of fresh basil, which plays well against the smoky background of the tomatoes.
1 pound ripe tomatoes (about 4 average or 6 to 8 Romas)
2 green onions
1 fresh jalapeño
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1. Fire roast the tomatoes: You want to cook the tomatoes over a high flame until blistered, charred and blackened over most of the outside. For this salsa, don't blacken each surface completely, you want a mixture of charred and blistered surfaces. You can do this in several different ways:
On a griddle: Heat a griddle until very hot. Place the tomatoes on it and cook until charred, then turn them over and cook the other sides until charred.
On an open burner: Cook the tomatoes directly in the flame by spearing them with a fork and turning them as they blacken (like toasting a marshmallow). Or, lay a metal rack or grill over the burner grate and set several tomatoes on it, directly over the flame, turning them as each side blackens—but be advised: the rack will warp from the heat, so pick one you don't care about or one which you can dedicate to fire-roasting.
Under a broiler: Heat a broiler until very, very hot, Place the tomatoes on a rack in a broiling pan and broil, turning each side as they blister and char. This is the least effective method, as the insides of the tomatoes also tend to cook, but it still works fine if the broiler is already hot and the tomatoes sit close to the flame.
2. Fire roast the green onions: The griddle or open burner methods work best for green onions, as they cook so quickly. I use tongs and the open burner method, roasting the white section first and then draping the green parts through the flame, which take only a few seconds to char.
3. After roasting the tomatoes and green onions, remove the core from the tomatoes and discard the beard-like roots of the green onions. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and green onions into large pieces. Stem the jalapeño and coarsely chop it. Coarsely chop the basil.
4. Using a medium or standard sized food processor, Add the tomatoes, green onions, jalapeño, salt, sugar, and squeeze in the juice from the lime. Process until chopped and blended, but not fully puréed. Add the basil and pulse just until the basil is combined and more finely chopped. Let the mixture sit for at least an hour for the flavors to blend.
Copyright © 1999, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created January 1999
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