God bless my friends for putting up with me. While I work hard to refrain from perfectionism in day to day life, something happens to me during a group grocery shop for a cottage weekend away. Suddenly, store-bought hummus is the scourge of our time, and I will fight to select the lemons and limes to make sure we end up with the juiciest. And for God’s sake, are we seriously buying those premixed salad kits? Yes, I’m a bit of a grocery snob (but also, kinda cheap).
There is one item that I always tend to concede to – the jar of salsa. Save for my insistence that we get the spicy variety, and sensing my friends grow weary of my demands, the everyday, shelf-stable salsa goes in the cart. Because even I’m not going to whip up some fresh stuff when I could be drinkin’ a Bud.
That is, unless it’s this Roasted Red Pepper Salsa.
You see, I’ve always found making fresh salsa to be a bit of a pain in the ass. It’s not hard by any means, just annoying to me. Sure, if you can find delicious fresh tomatoes, you’re killing it, but what about in winter? Using canned tomatoes requires straining. Using cherry tomatoes tastes better with roasting. Creating more dishes, and more annoyances and so on.
I want a salsa that I can make (mostly) fresh, that takes no time at all, and tastes just as good every single time. Minimal dishes. A reliable recipe that can change the hearts and minds of others to make them want to be the kind of person who makes their own salsa. And this is it. A salsa that tastes incredibly fresh and quite special. Easy and cheap, masquerading as elegant. Sounds right to me.
So to my friends – yes, I will shun the jarred salsa from now on, but I promise to replace it with the following.
See you in the car! Best wishes -Rachel
Roasted Red Pepper Salsa
1 cup roasted red pepper (I use jarred, whole or sliced are fine)
1/2 cup parsley (rinsed and dried)
1/4 cup cilantro (rinsed and dried)
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons lime juice
1-2 teaspoons diced jalapeño (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Chili flakes, to taste (optional)
- Combine all ingredients using a hand blender, or food processor by ‘pulsing’ the mixture.
You want the final result to still have some texture so don’t just let it rip.
- If you don’t have either machine, you can finely chop the peppers, herbs and garlic by hand, and blend with remaining ingredients.
Don’t see this as a lesser version – you’ll feel even more accomplished. And it might inspire you to find a hand blender at a thrift store so you can eat this all the time without all that chopping.
- Jalapeño and chili flakes will obviously make this a spicy salsa – use your discretion based on your tastes.
And taste the jalapeño first! Some of them can be quite hot.
- Serve with tortilla chips, spread on sandwiches, toss into a pasta salad etc.
The possibilities are endless 😉
♠Try blending in a 1/2 cup of mayonnaise or sour cream. You’ll want to adjust to add more salt, especially if you mix in sour cream. This makes an especially good dip to serve with french fries and absolutely destroys chipotle mayo.
♠I haven’t tried this yet, but I imagine a few oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes would add extra complexity and brightness to the salsa. Try throwing in some fresh basil too.
♠To make the crispy tortilla chips featured in the photo:
-Slice up fresh corn tortillas into chip shapes;
-Heat a neutral oil (grapeseed oil, regular [not extra virgin] olive oil) in a frying pan, until it’s shimmering (medium-high heat);
-Fry tortilla chips in the oil, turning occasionally until they puff up and are crisp (will only take a couple minutes if your oil is hot enough);
-Drain on paper towels and serve with the salsa.