I love any excuse to explore Tex-Mex and/or Latin-inspired flavors, so of course Cinco de Mayo having been on a Saturday this year was an awesome opportunity for me to throw a fiesta.  I made carnitas in my crock pot, beef tacos, these adorable margarita jello shots, and experimented with this fantastic new salsa technique.

In the past I’ve mostly just made salsa frescas, since it is pretty dang easy to just chop a bunch of stuff into little bitty pieces and throw a bunch of flavor at it.  But this time around, I wanted less effort and more volume, so I decided to try this technique that a coworker of mine uses. (The joys of being a professional chef!)

What I did was throw all of my fresh ingredients onto a pan an roast the everliving tar out of them, until most of it was starting to develop a lovely char, then blend it all up with the rest of my flavoring agents.  I’ll throw in a few guidelines for amounts, but to be honest I didn’t measure a thing, and just relied on my trusty ol’ taste buds to steer me in the right direction.  Good luck!

The Goods:

10 ish vine ripe tomatoes, quartered

1 bulb garlic, smashed and peeled

1 large red onion, cut into big chunks

5 jalapenos, cut in half and seeds removed (use less if you want less heat, use more or hotter peppers if you want more)

fresh cilantro, a small handful

extra virgin olive oil


chili powder

lime juice




The Method:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Toss your tomatoes, onion, garlic and chiles onto a greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil, toss lightly to coat.

Roast until there’s a lovely char going on. (To get some crazy awesome smokiness, you can also do this on the grill, but you’ll probably need one of those grill basket things or you’ll lose most of the little pieces to the fire.)

Cool and transfer into a nice big mixing bowl.  Toss in a small handful of cilantro.

Put some serious hurting to it with your stick blender (or puree in a standard blender in small batches).

When everything is all lovely and smooth, give it a taste.  Add lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and more salt and pepper as needed.