If you have Netflix, you’ve probably already binge watched the second season of “Orange is the New Black” like me. That show is so addicting and I’m sad to have to wait again for a whole new season to come out. One of the episodes that caught my attention is the one where Piper is granted furlough from prison and gets to go home for a day. At one point, she bites into a giant burger and you witness her savor every bite as if it were her last…probably because it actually was her last for a while. Though Swiss food is nothing like prison food (I’m actually growing quite fond of sausages), I can relate. My mouth is watering thinking about all the delicious food I’m about to eat during my trip back to the States next week. I can’t wait to go to El Nido and Gordo for a giant burrito served with free chips and salsa (yes, there will be multiple burrito outings). Or eat fresh sushi, enjoy a real American breakfast, be served ice water, buy a sandwich with more than once slice of meat, and order a decent tasting salad at a restaurant.
Now let’s get back to all the Mexican food I’m about to consume. Piper’s burger is my Mexican food. I could eat some version of Mexican food everyday and be completely happy, which I plan to do when I’m home. Jon has the same feelings as me, and because of the lack of good Mexican food here, we have spent numerous hours perfecting our favorite dishes. Yes, he actually joins me in the kitchen when there is Mexican food at stake. The Mexican restaurants here are a joke. Why oh why can’t they chop up some fresh tomatoes and onions instead of popping open a crappy jar of salsa? Sorry, I could rant about this for days, but really, the salsa here is terrible. Which made it the first item on our Mexican food wish-list that we had to perfect.
We knew how to make pico de gallo, but really we’d prefer a salsa that’s more similar to what is served at a good Mexican restaurant, Plus, I was tired of all the chopping. I wanted to blend. We tried to blend fresh tomatoes with the rest of the ingredients but it tasted mealy. Then we tried it with canned tomatoes but it tasted too much like tomato sauce. I was describing this dilemma to my cousin while we were munching on some chips and salsa in Costa Rica. He had the answer we needed: you have to fire roast the tomatoes. Of course! There are always bits of black in a good salsa, which is the charred skin. I took his advice and now we have fire roasted salsa on hand almost every week to accompany anything that goes with it.
Just cut those tomatoes in half.
Deseed those suckers.
Pop them in a baking pan.
Make sure they are nicely charred.
Throw them in the blender along with cilantro and salt.
Serve with chips. Throw it on some tacos.
Slather it in your burrito. Spoon it on top of your salad.
Enjoy it like it’s your last. Even though it won’t be.
- 5 red tomatoes
- 1 large white or yellow onion (or 2 small)
- 2 small cloves garlic, or one large
- 1 hot pepper of choice
- 3-4 sprigs of cilantro
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Cut your tomatoes in half and discard the seeds. Peel the onion and cut in halves or fourths. Cut the pepper in half. Place these three ingredients face down into a baking pan. Add in the garlic, skin on.
- Broil for 10-20 minutes, depending on your broiler. Gas will be faster than electric. Once the skins are charred, remove the pan from the oven.
- Remove the skin from the garlic and place all the ingredients into a blender. Add the cilantro and salt. Pulse the blender until the salsa is blended to your liking. Taste test, and add more salt if needed.