It should be noted that it is, in fact, firmly October. October is not a month generally known for its tomatoey goodness, but the weather has been weird this year, and so I still have tomatoes ripening. On the vine.
Look! It’s a gift horse! (Shut your mouth, gift horse, ‘cause I’m not looking in there.)
By weird, I mean hot. As anyone who has read this blog for more than three minutes probably knows, I hate the winter. With a passion. I whine incessantly about it. So I’m embracing the fact that today it was 86 degrees in Iowa City, even if it meant I spent the day sweating like it was July, and that it means I spend more than my normal share of time pondering global warming or, as I overhead someone saying today, “climate instability.”
As a result, I don’t feel so guilty about sharing this recipe with you, even though, for the most part, you will probably not be able to experience it to its best advantage until next year. I say to its best advantage because, really, the roasting aspect of this recipe means you could probably get away with using supermarket tomatoes over the winter, but I’m not going to actually recommend that. Get away with isn’t the same as should, after all. Besides, I have already given out a perfectly good winter salsa recipe—you’re going to get a much better result down that avenue than with the bland cardboardy things the store will be happy to sell you all winter long.
But enough of that lecture. What have we here? Salsa that has been put through the rigors of the oven. High temperatures, a little caramelization, and a lot of ingredient flexibility – these add up to something quite delicious.
I made this salsa a few times over the course of the summer, and every time, it disappeared in no time flat. At work, I put it out with some chips at 10:30 a.m., IM’d my friend Betsy to tell her she should get herself on into the kitchen to get some before it was gone, and sure enough, by 11:30, there was nothing in the bottom of the rather large container of salsa. And it is, in fact, good enough that I completely spaced on taking a picture of the finished product. I just ate it, and had other friends eat it, as fast as humanly possible.
I am not my own inspiration here. I found an original version of the recipe on the Interweb somewhere, didn’t bookmark it, and now can’t find it. This is my version, tweaked to my liking, but original recipe writer, if you’re in the neighborhood and this seems all too familiar, please shoot an email my way and let me know where to link to give you the appropriate credit.
Approx. 8 medium-sized tomatoes, any variety
1 to 3 jalapeño peppers
1 large red or yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
The juice of one lime
1/3 c. chopped cilantro (or Italian parsley if you’re a cilantro-hater)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Chop most of the tomatoes, but hold back one or two to add later in their uncooked state.
- Chop the onion and the seeded jalapeños (Let your tolerance for heat determine how many you use…). Place the tomatoes, onion and jalapeños in a 9×13 roasting pan.
- Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil and sprinkle it with the salt. Toss and put in preheated oven.
- Cook the vegetables for 15 minutes, then remove them to stir. Put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven, stir again, and let the vegetables sit for another 15 minutes.
- Chop the raw tomatoes roughly.
- Add the roasted and raw vegetables and the lime juice to a blender or food processor. Pulse until the mixture has reached your desired consistency.
- Add the cilantro and pulse one more time to incorporate it. Taste to adjust salt, and serve immediately, although the flavors improve with chilling.