Friday, July 6, 2012

Salsa with Cabbage and Avocado

There is an excellent Mexican restaurant in town called Fiesta En Jalisco. Nobody can ever remember the name so everyone just calls it "the mexican place." One of my favorite parts is the salsa and chips that is served beforehand, two kinds; one is spicy and chunky and the other is mild and smooth but with shredded cabbage. My preference is the latter and I wanted to try to recreate it. I think I made it close enough to satisfy!

I worked off of a basic salsa recipe. It was remarkably difficult to find a salsa recipe on the internet that wasn't actually pico de gallo (which I already have made a few times before). Salsa is soupy and cooked, whereas pico de gallo is dry (not swimming), chunky, and raw.

The recipe was for Simple Cooked Tomato Salsa from Simply Recipes. It called for:

2 medium sized fresh tomatoes, cored and cut in half
1 whole jalapeno or serrano pepper, stem removed & chopped
5 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
2 tsp olive oil

In addition, I wanted to include and onion (1/4 of it), cilantro (handful), cabbage (about 2 cups, maybe less) and an avocado. I also ended up adding extra tomato puree (about a cup).

I've never cored a tomato before, but I just took a guess and used a paring knife to cut out the center and then pushed out the core, like this:

I cored the tomatoes and sliced them in half, then I scraped out the slimy-seedy part because I didn't want that in my salsa. 

The type of pepper I used wasn't a jalepeno nor a serrano. I think it might've been called a pasilla pepper--not spicy (especially since I didn't use the seeds). I don't like seeds in my stuff, can you tell? I didn't use all of the pepper though, I think about 3/4 of it even though next time I'd use it all. 

I used about a quarter of an onion since I had only about half to work with and I wanted to save some for the burgers we'll be having later this week. 

I tore off an handful of cilantro and threw that in the blender, along with the garlic, salt, and water. 

It turns out the pieces were too big to blend, so I just used a wooden spoon to squish themselves down against the blades until it was pureed enough to go on its own. Next time I'll cut it all into smaller pieces. I pureed it until smooth because I don't like chunky salsa. 

To my dismay, my "salsa" turned white-green instead of red (and in this picture it looks tan). Hmph. 

So I put it in the pot to simmer and added 3 big spoons of tomato puree--probably about a cup. It turned the color brown instead of red, but at least it wasn't a white salsa. Who knows what that was about? At least it ended up a little reddish-brown instead of tan.

I simmered the salsa for 15 minutes on medium heat. I let it cool, put in a bowl, and put it in the fridge to chill. 

After it chilled I added the shredded cabbage and diced avocado.

I think it's delicious, but Andy wishes it was spicy. I think next time I will probably use a jalepeno AND a pasilla pepper. Maybe a third tomato. Who knows! Salsa is one of those wonderful dip-like things that can be thrown together without measuring much and it'll still taste great. It's a little surprising that I like it so much since I hate chunky salsa, but the cabbage and avocado chunks are great!

Give it a try for something a little different!