Update: 7/19/2013 – I have slightly modified the recipe below from the original recipe that I posted, based on several preparations since this post was done. All ingredients are the same, with only a few slight changes in amounts to suit our particular taste. I have also added a few more specifics on the peppers. As a result, the salsa is now slightly thicker than the one shown below in the original picture, which makes it perfect for chip dipping. We’ve also learned that our best batches of this salsa are made with jalapeno and red serrano peppers right out of our own garden, too. Now, on to this great (slightly modified) recipe!
We’ve had a little “crisis” of sorts over the past week, it seems. Our favorite fresh (not in a jar) salsa was discontinued at our grocery store a couple of weeks ago, and I had no clue that move was coming, as the company that makes it is still very much in business. After voicing my disappointment to the store manager, along with my opinion about a few other good products that have been discontinued over the past couple of months in favor of lesser quality ones, I knew that I was going to have to just give in and learn to make a salsa that we would like. Salsa snobs? Guilty as charged, I guess. Once you’ve enjoyed good salsa, it’s just hard to give it up, especially since we eat it several times a week on some food at our house.
After a couple of attempts, I believe I have finally come up with a salsa recipe that we will be quite happy with going forward and does not use fresh tomatoes, since we can seldom buy good ones here and have to grow our own in the summer months to ever have any decent ones. I opted to include habanero peppers in it, since our favorite salsa also included them. This is the first time I have used habanero peppers in anything, and I heeded the many warnings from others online to wear plastic gloves when dicing them up. I also discarded all of the habanero seeds, even though I used the seeds from the jalapeno peppers. Later on, I’m also going to try adding either a bit of pineapple, peaches or a little orange juice, as I’ve had (and loved) these variations in salsas in the past.
Here is my new salsa recipe! Please note that this is a HOT salsa recipe, so if you are not a fan of setting your tongue on fire just a bit, just reduce the hot peppers to your own taste. Peppers can certainly vary in their intensity, so I always add the peppers one at a time, then taste until I’m satisfied with the result.
(WEAR PLASTIC GLOVES TO SEED AND DICE PEPPERS)
Combine the whole tomatoes (drained), Rotel, onion, jalapenos, habaneros or serranos, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, vinegar and cilantro in a large food processor, then pulse in short pulses until the salsa is the consistency desired, less for chunkier, more for smoother. Test the seasonings by tasting with an unflavored tortilla chip or with your favorite chip and adjust as needed. The salt content of the chip should be considered when flavoring the salsa, taking care that too much salt is not added to the salsa. I actually added a bit more of all of the seasonings to mine, but I listed what I think would be a minimum of each for starters. Keep the salsa refrigerated in a sealed container. This can be served after about an hour in the refrigerator, but it is much, much better after letting it sit overnight, which lets the flavors come together so nicely. Also, since the jalapenos, habaneros and serranos can vary in their level of heat just a bit, you can certainly tweak the quantities of those to find your own perfect level of heat for each batch. If needed, you can add back some of the drained tomato juice to tone down the heat and/or make the consistency a little smoother. We prefer our salsa with none of the juice added back, but that is just our preference.
And one last reminder, please wear the plastic gloves when handling the peppers, especially the habaneros and/or serranos, and wash surfaces well that come in contact with the peppers and their juices. Do not make the mistake of rubbing your eyes with hands that have touched any hot pepper. Been there… done that… not fun… at all. Enjoy!