“Fresh” Salsa, Mexican Restaurant Style
The salsa that is typically, and automatically, served with tortilla chips at Mexican American restaurants as soon as you sit down is loosely based on the real Mexican “Salsa Fresca.” However, in Mexico the real one is made entirely of fresh vegetables grilled over fire then peeled and ground with lime juice in a 3-legged, shallow stone mortar called a “Molcajete.” The salsa is often served directly out of the mortar. Mexican American restaurant salsa seems to use canned ground tomatoes and is made in large batches. It’s tastier at some restaurants more than at others.
Here is my version of Salsa Fresca, which can be used as a dip for tortilla chips, spooned onto tacos or fajitas, or used in various Mexican-type casseroles. At Donderos’ Kitchen we serve a fairly similar salsa as a condiment with our breakfast burritos, breakfast egg sandwiches and our various “griddles.”
The salsa will keep for several days in the refrigerator, but it’s freshest tasting the first day.
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (Hunts brand is pretty good)
1 small onion
1 medium-small fresh green jalapeño pepper (remove part of seeds if milder salsa is desired)
1 medium-small bunch cilantro (including the stems)
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Place crushed tomatoes in a bowl.
In food processor (or on cutting board with a chef’s knife), finely mince together the onion, jalapeño and cilantro, scraping down inside of container. Add to the tomatoes. Add lime juice, salt, cumin and pepper. Mix well.
Allow to sit 10 minutes. Stir well. Taste and add salt and/or lime juice to taste.
Chill several hours before using, for full flavor. Stir and taste before serving and add salt, if needed.