Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Easy, Pleasing Salsa With A Seedy Twist!

I'm feeling very Cinco de Mayo my-oh-my this morning so thankfully I have this easy salsa recipe to offer. I hacked this recipe years ago from the very first issue of Chow Magazine. It has since proven quite versatile and its basic elements can be tweaked just enough to turn into a salsa, a dip or a spread. I served it last night with mini cornmeal blinis (instead of taco shells or tortillas) that were slathered with some of this salsa, then topped with crunchy green cabbage, grated carrots, and fajita-spiced flank steak. I also put it in a bowl next to some jicama and carrot strips for dipping. Even more fun than watching everyone enjoying it was seeing the puzzlement on their faces as they swiped stick after stick through the dip in an attempt to guess the source of the beguiling flavor. This salsa gets a triple shot of smoky flavor from roasted tomatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds and ground chipotle. A little vinegar, brown sugar and lime juice then rounds those flavors out. Kosher salt provides the balance. 

That's it. This will quickly become a staple in your kitchen. 

Without further rambling from me - my morning fog is your concise recipe entry - so here you are. As always, ask if you have questions. 

Roasted Tomato And Pumpkin Seed Salsa
For the salsa....
5 tomatoes, roma work best but you can use larger varieties, halved, cored, seeded, with pithy pulp removed
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
Olive oil
salt and pepper
1 to 2 TBS chipotle powder
1 TBS ancho powder
2 TBS brown sugar 
1 TBS kosher salt
1 TSP coarse ground black pepper
1/4 quarter cup white vinegar (or more if desired)
2 to 4 TBS lime juice 

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Toss tomato halves in a little olive oil with salt and pepper, place on foil lined baking sheet and stick in oven for about 15 minutes. Flip. Roast another 10 minutes, start to watch for charring of the skins. This is desirable for the rich flavor, btw. When skins of tomatoes are starting to turn brown, remove from oven. Set aside.
2. Toss pumpkin seeds with a light drizzle of oil, spread evenly on foil-lined pan. Place in oven and immediately turn heat down to 250F. Keep an eye on them. In about five minutes you'll get a waft of their nutty fragrance. Make sure they're not burning. When they've started browning, remove. This should happen in about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool, but be mindful that some of them will be popping and cracking open. 
3. Place tomatoes and pumpkin seeds in a non-reactive pan over medium heat. Add one cup water. Bring to boil, then turn down to simmer. Add vinegar, chipotle powder, ancho powder, one tablespoon of brown sugar, kosher salt, and black pepper. Stir very well. Simmer about thirty minutes on low or until tomatoes have started breaking down. Remove from heat, stir in lime juice and adjust flavoring as needed. I personally like more lime than vinegar so I went heavy on the lime. 
4. When mixture has sufficiently cooled, add to food processor. Watching for rogue exploding pumpkin seeds. Pulse until a chunky puree has been made. Taste and adjust seasoning again. Pulse until seeds are reduced to tiny bits. Refrigerate til ready to use. Makes approximately two cups. Serve with chips, jiacama sticks, or use as a spread on wraps. 


Ann said...

adding pumpkin seeds sounds new to me :)

Steven said...

Hi Ann, nice to hear from you! The pumpkin seeds give a nutty flavor and they also provide an interesting texture. Just watch them in the oven as boy, they burn FAST! Let me know if these work for you, I think you'll like them!

Charles G Thompson said...

Sounds perfect for upcoming summer dining... love smoked/smoky things... and my Warmest Recipe file is quickly multiplying. Thanks for another one to add! Pretty soon I'll have a book (kidding).

Stephanesia said...

This sounds tasty, I like the idea of the seeds in it... And it's something I wouldn't have thought of myself, like at all.

I always put a lot of onions in things like salsa or guacamole. For some reason it makes me super happy, haha.

Anywho, gonna have to make this or something similar sometime...

Steven said...

Stephanesia, Thanks for the feedback! You can put onions in this if you prefer. I would saute them, then add the roasted tomatoes and take the recipe from there. The seeds add a nice nutty flavor. Let me know if you give this a try! Thx again! Steven

The Duo Dishes said...

Great crunch and spice in this salsa. Sounds really good.

Steven said...

DD - the crunchiness is a big hit! There's a lot of flavor in this just from those toasted seeds alone. I find that even if a few burn it just adds more character. Enjoy and thanks so much for the feedback! Steven