Salsa is reported to be more popular than catsup and other condiments, and no wonder. A good salsa can be put on anything. While some people do put catsup on eggs, steak or fish, it is far more likely that you want to add a good homemade salsa to add a kick to it.
Salsas can be mild or hot and while some peppers can be tricky, you do have a fair amount of control over the heat level depending on a few factors.
1. Peppers that you use – if you use a mild pepper, then the salsa should not be as hot. Want it super mild? Use a roasted red bell pepper. There should be no heat at all.
2. Seeds – if you use a jalapeno or another hot pepper, removing the seeds and discarding them will reduce the heat of the salsa in most cases. Keep in mind that jalapenos do vary a lot so this is no guarantee of mild salsa.
3. Ratio – if you use more tomato and onion and cilantro and less peppers, you will have a more mild salsa.
4. Cooked vs raw – cooking a pepper (either grilling or boiling with other ingredients) can be a little more mild than using it raw in a salsa.
5. Quantity used – Ok, so you end up with a salsa that is very hot for your taste. Don’t worry, you can still just use less or add more tomato to it to dilute it some.
So, with that information, let me give you the basics of salsa creation. There is a near infinite variety of salsa combinations because it does not only have a lot of different types of peppers, but also different tomatoes, cooking techniques, spices, etc. I want to give you the basics in this article so you can experiment and find the combinations that best suit your taste.
Uncooked salsa is common and usually consists of red tomato, onion, a type of hot pepper, all diced up in small cubes and mixed together. The juice of the tomato will add some of the liquid for the salsa. Then you add salt, cilantro if you like it and you might add a squeeze of lime juice. Let it sit for a bit and you have a nice chunky fresh salsa.
Variations on this might include other spices, parsley, a light blend on it to make it less chunky, etc.
Next consider grilled salsa. With this approach you grill off most of the veggies that go into the salsa for a smoky flavor. I frequently make green salsa this way. I put one big red tomato, 6 tomatillos (green tomatoes), 3 or so jalapenos, large chunks of cut onion, one mild pepper and grill them all well. I peel off any major char but leave some minor specks. Then I blend them all in the blender with some salt, a bit of garlic and add diced cilantro. As you can image, this can vary quite a bit. You can use just read tomatoes, you can use poblano peppers to give it a very different flavor, etc. You should take these summaries and use them to find your own fresh flavor.
Lastly, there is traditional boiled salsa. This is when you chunk up your ingredients and boil them all until soft and then blend them into a batch of smooth salsa. This also includes tomato of choice, pepper of choice, onion, salt and garlic. It is important to add cilantro and finely diced onion as well to the salsa after it is blended to have some texture and freshness in it. To be safe, let the boiled ingredients cool before blending so if it splashes you do not get burned.
These instructions are not exact recipes. They are general guidelines of how people make fresh salsa and you can experiment to find what you like the best. Happy salsa making.