smokey tomato salsa

our latin party was great fun and i was so lucky with the recipes i chose – with two exceptions all of the ten different dishes i did were absolutely delicious. often this was the result of a mix n match approach to the recipes i found or a bit of gentle tweaking.

my favourite component was this smokey salsa. i used a few thomasina miers recipes as the base for dishes including her recipe for roasted tomato salsa. she talks about the classic mexican technique of frying chillies in a dry pan so they soften and char. in her salsa recipe she adds garlic and red onions to the charring-pan.

she also calls for the tomatoes to be dry-fried whole but that didn’t really work so i roasted half the tomatoes on a baking tray – maximum oven temperature and no seasoning or oil for the tomatoes. both processes result in a lot of smoke, smells and burnt-looking vegetables. these get blitzed with enough fresh tomatoes (this is where i differ from the source recipe which calls for all tomatoes to be roasted) to bring back a hint of freshness which is lifted with coriander, lime and red wine vinegar.

i have never had a salsa with such depth of flavour and really recommend you try this. a fresh tomato salsa has nothing on it. 

smokey tomato salsa (makes c500g)

12 large tomatoes

6-8 medium green chillies

13 garlic cloves, unpeeled

6-8 medium red onions, peeled and cut into sixths

a large handful of coriander, chopped

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

juice of 2 limes

salt and pepper (i used halen mon smoked sea salt)

heat the oven to its maximum temperature. cut 6 of the tomatoes into quarters and place on a roasting tray and roast until they are softened and black in places - this took c30 minutes in my oven but check after 15.

put the chillies, garlic and onions in a large, dry frying pan. cook over a high heat for 10-15 minutes, turning the vegetables over occasionally. you want them to char and blacken in places and become soft. when they are ready, remove the chilli stems, remove the garlic cloves from their skins and remove any onion roots. put the vegetables in the food processor, including the remaining tomatoes which have been halved, and blitz for 5 minutes. add the coriander, vinegar and lime juice and blitz again. season to taste and add more lime juice if needed to balance the acidity of the salsa.