What is your signature salsa? Sara Kate brought us the deliciously smoky Lizano-style salsa yesterday, inspired by Costa Rica. Nealey turned to Georgia fruit for her saucy sweet and spicy peach salsa. Me, I try to keep salsa as simple as possible. Mostly because I am lazy in the sauce department, but also because I need something fast and easy in the moments just before the guests show up. What do I put out with chips? Something hot, something smoky, something that take 5 minutes to make, like this poblano salsa.
This salsa was originally a happy accident, an experiment with roasting peppers and cleaning out the fridge. It has a tiny handful of ingredients: peppers, tomatoes, and onion, with lime and salt for balance. Charring the peppers over the gas stove or under the broiler makes this more than the sum of its parts, however, introducing a smoky sweetness and depth to the salsa. Usually when you roast peppers for use in a dish you peel them afterwards, but I don't, here — I leave the charred skins on.
And just in case the title doesn't make it clear: This salsa is hot. It's just the thing to serve a pack of people who genuinely love spicy food, or to dash over a plate of beans and rice for a tingle of spice and smoke, and the taste of real summer tomatoes sweetening the finish.
Hot & Smoky Roasted Poblano Pepper Salsamakes about 1 1/2 cups
2 poblano peppers
1/2 pound tomatoes, cored
1/2 small red onion
1 lime, juiced, about 2 tablespoons
Cilantro leaves, to garnish
Roast the poblano peppers over a gas burner (leave them directly on the burner grate and turn them occasionally), under a broiler, or over a gas grill until the skins are roughly blackened and charred. (See more instructions here on roasting peppers.) Set them aside to cool.
Core the tomatoes and chop them roughly. Roughly chop the red onion. Lop off the stems of the peppers, and put everything into a blender or food processor with the lime juice and a sprinkle of salt. Blend until combined. Add a few tablespoons of water if you wish to thin it out. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with chips, or over beans and rice.
(Images: Faith Durand)