Salsa with Packrat386
Also known as: How to turn this
1 Bunch of Cilantro
1 Jalapeño Pepper
1 Sharp Knife
1 Cutting Board
1 Large bowl
Juice the limes, chop the other ingredients and combine in a bowl.
Serve over whatever you want.
Fulfils 1 obligation to bring something to a party.
Time: 45 minutes (if you're slow at chopping like me)
A more serious note on the ingredients: Pretty much nothing in there is set in stone, and all of the ratios are approximate (since tomatoes and onions and such are not a uniform size). If you want more or less of a particular flavour, then simply add more or less of that ingredient. You're not really cooking anything. so you can't go wrong.
How to make it (with pictures)
I thought about just leaving off there, but that recipe is hardly impressive enough to stand by itself. I've made this dish a lot of times and figured I'd share a little more about what to do, and what not to do.
Start with the tomatoes: The tomatoes are probably the most important part of the salsa. You likely noticed that they make up a significant majority by volume of the ingredients as a whole. This means that how good your tomatoes are can easily make or break the dish. You should try to find tomatoes that are ripe, but not mushy as otherwise they will be difficult to cut. I like using heirloom tomatoes, and other hipstery types that you can get at farmers markets as they tend to be juicier and the colour variety makes the dish look a little nicer. However if you can't get those, there is nothing wrong with the grocery store, I suggest the kind that come on the vine.
When chopping the tomatoes, I find you need a very sharp knife. Personally, I have difficulty cutting through the skin of the tomato without mashing the inside, and a sharp knife helps for this. As far as cutting boards go, you're going to want a relatively big one to have enough space to work in unless you want to cut in a bunch of small batches. If you have a board with a slight trench around the side it will help to catch the juice so that you can put it back in the salsa.
Now go put on some music, because you're going to be chopping up stuff for a while. I find that the most efficient way is to cut the tomato in half (removing the part that connects to the stalk), then cut each half first vertically, then horizontally. After that just keep chopping over the tomatoes until you get something that looks like this
The continue this until you have chopped all of the tomatoes.
Now on the onions: As far as onions go, you can basically do whatever. I used to use red onions in this recipe, but I've started using white ones, and I like it better. My only advice is that you probably need less onion than you think you do since the taste can get really overwhelming.
As for how to prepare them. I really don't like chopping onions. Despite having tried just about every method I've ever heard, I get so many tears in my eyes that I can't see any more. Luckily for me my parents have one of these.
Just slice the onion into smaller pieces, and put them in there until they're thoroughly diced. If you don't have one of these, then just chop them as small as you can manage. Large clumps of onion aren't great to bite into, so try to eliminate that.
On peppers: I've made this recipe before without peppers, but the end result seems to be quite sweet, and somewhat unlike what most people think of as salsa. I think that adding one jalapeño is usually enough of a kick for me, since I somewhat like the sweetness as well. However if you want more spicy salsa, you can add 2 or more jalapeños. I also made this recipe once with habaneros that were sold to me by an old mexican man (8 for a dollar). It was a delicious, and yet somewhat painful experience. I think that you could probably make this with just about any peppers you like. Once again, everything is up to personal taste.
When cutting the peppers I usually remove the seeds as I find them overly spicy, but you can leave them in if you like. The only thing you really have to look out for is making sure that you chop the peppers very small so that they can spread throughout the salsa. At the end of the day you probably want something that looks like this.
Seasoning: The rest of the ingredients don't really add to the meat and potatoes of the salsa, but can greatly effect the taste.
The first of these is the Cilantro. This stuff looks like parsley, but it has a pretty different flavour. Chopping it is actually somewhat difficult depending on your equipment. I said that you would only need one knife, and one board in the recipe, but I personally like to use a clean (dry) knife and board for the cilantro as it tends to stick to anything wet. You want to start by cutting off the stalks so that all you have left is the really leafy bit at the top of the bunch. After that you just want to chop the bunch over and over, vertically and horizontally, until its almost a powder, like so.
After that just scoop it up and put it in. As long as you used one bunch, I don't really think you can over or underdo this. It doesn't have an incredibly strong flavour, but just adds a little bit to the mix.
The next thing is the limes, or specifically the lime juice. This IS very easy to overdo, and if you put in too much your salsa will just taste like lime. All you really have to do is squeeze them and pour in the juice. 2 ought to be enough, but like other things, you may find that you like more or less lime in your salsa, and you can adjust accordingly.
If you want to put salt, pepper, or any other seasoning in, now would be the time to do it. I personally like to keep the recipe simple and preserve the sweetness of the salsa, so I tend to leave it as is.
Final notes on preparation and serving: Once you have all your ingredients together, you will want to thoroughly mix them. If the salsa isn't going to be consumed right away, I usually like to leave it for a few minutes to soak in the juices and then pour off the excess juice, as sometimes it can be overly watery if left in.
Like regular salsa, it tends to go well with tortialla chips and tacos. Unlike regular salsa, I find that it goes well with other foods as well, for a bit of flavour. I like tomatoes with a lot of things, and being mostly diced tomatoes it can be included in other dishes without being too overpowering.
This recipe was given to me by an Argentinian counselor at a Spanish Language camp (it has since been modified a lot). I hope that you guys will enjoy it as much as I have!