In keeping with the theme of Mexican dips after the guacamole recipe from earlier this week, I give you the most famous of them all, the tomato salsa. Salsa, simply the Spanish and Italian word for sauce, has become synonymous in our vocabulary with the spicy tomato Mexican salsa but can mean anything from a salsa verde (green sauce) made with tomatillos, to a corn salsa with sweetcorn as the main component. It can be cooked or made using raw ingredients, be used as a condiment, or as a dip. It’s beauty is it’s versatility.
You could of course take all the ingredients listed below, finely chop, and stir together for a raw salsa. It’s gives a lighter, crisper salsa but for me it’s the chargrilling that makes the difference here, elevating the flavours of each element with the char providing a smoky and slight bitter element that works so well. It also removes the harshness of the raw shallot and garlic, softening and mellowing the flavours for a more rounded taste experience. You can happily substitute red onion, or indeed yellow onion if you don’t have shallots at hand. There’s no need to worry to much about too exact amounts here. Tomatoes, garlic cloves, and shallots all vary in size so there’s a little freedom to be had here. If you like it more garlicky, add another clove, if you like it spicier, add another chilli, and so on.
When grilling, make sure to keep an eye on it. Ovens and grills vary and so while the instructions given are as accurate as possible it may differ slightly for you.