Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Blackened Heirloom Tomato Salsa

Blackened Heirloom Tomato Salsa
Why is it still so cold out? I mean, that's one of the many perks of living in the South... the warm weather!! But, my gawd, it has been chilly out there for the last couple weeks, I'm just straight up sick of it. I'm ready for perfect picnic weather, amazing peaches, juicy ripe heirloom tomatoes, silver queen corn, baseball games, and long days at the beach. In the mean time, I'm going to pretend that it's warm outside by making food that evokes that state of mind. One of those for me is making fresh, homemade salsa. I absolutely cannot stand salsa out of the jar. It's got that canned tomato, pastey, over processed taste to it... and I ain't havin' that. I like to make my salsas with fresh heirloom tomatoes because they are naturally sweeter than a lot of other 'maters (southern for tomatoes) and they are just-oh-so-juicy. Also, I adore that they come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. I'm literally drawn to them when I go to the grocery store or a farmer's market, I just can't not buy some. Typically, I keep all my ingredients fresh or in their "raw" form, but this time I opted to roast some of the vegetables until they had blackened and charred. This added such a pronounced smokey flavor to the salsa that you usually can only get from a restaurant. The rest is really up to y'all... I like my salsa slightly chunkier than the average person, so feel free to throw the batch into a food processor and puree it until it is smooth. This dip is the perfect appetizer for cocktail hour and it paired perfectly with our homemade Dark & Stormy's that I will post on Friday!! Enjoy :)

Can you see the black flecks of charred vegetables??
For the Salsa:
6 Ripe Heirloom Tomatoes
4 Cloves of Garlic, Unpeeled
1 Small Red Onion, Cut into Thick Slices
3 Jalapenos
1 Lime, Cut in Half
½-1C Sweet Onion, Finely Chopped (we like a lot of onion in our salsa, so we used 1C)
1 Bunch of Fresh Cilantro, Finely Chopped
2T Candied Jalapenos, Minced
1T Vegetable Oil & 1T Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Sugar, To Taste (we like our salsa sweet & spicy, so we add a little more than usual)

1. Preheat the oven to broil and line a baking pan with a Silpat. Set it aside.
2. Blackening the Vegetables: Cut 3 of the heirloom tomatoes in half and place on the prepared baking sheet along with the unpeeled garlic cloves, red onion slices, whole jalapenos, and lime halves. Broil the vegetables until they are charred/blackened and softer in texture, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool enough, so you can handle the hot vegetables with your hands.
3. For the Salsa: With the remaining 3 heirloom tomatoes, roughly dice them up into small cubes and place them into a mixing bowl (this will help give the salsa a pleasant chunky texture). Add the sweet onion, chopped cilantro, candied jalapenos, vegetable oil, & red wine vinegar into the bowl. Toss until all the ingredients are combined. Now that the blackened vegetables have cooled, put the tomatoes, peeled roasted garlic cloves, red onion, and jalapenos into a food processor and pulse until a puree has formed. Pour this mixture into the mixing bowl of fresh ingredients. Squeeze the roasted lime over the salsa, and then season with salt and sugar to your liking (we like our salsa spicy, yet pretty sweet, so just add it a little at a time). Toss one last time to ensure that the salsa is thoroughly combined.
4. Serve the salsa with tortilla chips for dipping!

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