Firehouse Salsa
Stuart Zanger w. thanks to Firefighter Cook: Tim LaFuente
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1 large clove garlic, cut into 8 chunks
1-2 jalapeno peppers, cut into 8 pieces, more if you dare
3 Roma tomatoes, cut in quarters
1/2 cup unpacked cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, and juice reserved


Put the garlic and chiles in the food processor and process for 10 seconds.

(I suggest you cut off the stem end of a chile and cut a paper-thin slice of the pepper and taste it to see how hot it is, and whether you need one or two or three. And by the way, the veins and seeds inside the pepper are where most of the heat is. Trim them away and you get the jalapeno flavor but much less heat.)

Put the next 6 ingredients into a food processor along with some (about half) of the juice from the canned tomatoes. Process for about 10 seconds, until mixture is evenly chopped and mixed well.

Add the canned tomatoes and pulse the processor 3 or 4 times. Check the consistency and taste it on a chip. Pulse again if the salsa is too chunky. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and taste it on a chip again. And again.

After a few minutes, the "water" from the tomatoes will start pooling up on top of the salsa. You can spoon it off, if you like, or stir it back in.

A good discovery: Muir Glen Organic Fire-Roasted Tomatoes in cans. Occasionally, they go on sale at Wild Oats, and I stock up.

Yield: about 2 cups

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