The one condiment I can not seem to keep in the house is salsa. I think my husband must eat it for breakfast. I buy it on sale for the pantry, next time I go to get a jar out, they’re all gone. I open a new jar and eat a little bit with lunch, by the weekend there’s only a teaspoon left. My husband can easily go through four or five cups of salsa in a weekend of football games. And not only do we eat it with chips, and on things like tacos or quesadillas, but we have it with eggs, a cup or so mixed in with vegetable beef stew in the wintertime, a dash added to a spaghetti sauce that needs some oomph, and marinate shrimp and fish in it in the summer.
- 8 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise (or the equivalent of 4 cups of whatever type of tomato you like and have on hand. I’ve made it with Roma’s, vine-ripened, grape, heirloom and cherry tomatoes and it has turned out stellar every time)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 medium red onion, cut in thick circles with outer skin removed
- 2 jalapenos
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 Tablespoon sea salt (plus more to taste, if needed)
- Pepper to taste
- 4 Tablespoons whey
On a pre-heated hot grill* place the tomatoes, cut side down, onion and jalapeno on the grate (garlic too if you want to roast a whole bulb). Close the lid and roast vegetables; tomatoes will take about five to seven minutes and onions, pepper and garlic will take about seven to ten minutes. Flip the onions once so that both sides are grilled (do not flip the tomatoes or they will turn to mush and will be hard to get off the grate; only one side needs to be grilled) and turn the jalapeno as it cooks so that all sides of the skin get blistered until it is almost completely black. Remove all vegetables into a waiting pan. Put the jalapenos in a sandwich bag and zip shut. Allow the jalapenos to steam about five minutes while you prepare the rest.
In a food processor (or you can chop it with a knife, but the food processor is fast) place the onions, after having quartered each onion circle, and six cloves of the roasted garlic. Pulse a few times until onion is chopped well (it is important to do it separately; if you add everything at once the tomatoes will turn to absolute mush before the onions get chopped down to the size you prefer). At this point, take the jalapenos out of the bag and, under running water, remove the stem and wash/peel off the charred outer skin. I remove the seeds at this time as well. Chop briefly and add to the processor, along with tomatoes and a grind of pepper, the salt and a squeeze of lime, if you have it. (Some people also add chopped cilantro. I don’t like cilantro so I omit it, but add it if you like it!) Pulse a few times until salsa is to the consistency you prefer. Taste and add salt or more jalapeno, if needed. Two roasted, seeded jalapenos make my salsa roughly a medium spiciness.
This will make a little more than a quart. I find that I can’t make this without eating some of it immediately so I made enough to keep a little bowl out for my salsa-devouring hubby and my dinner. To preserve, I spooned the majority of the salsa into a quart sized, wide-mouth jar until it was half full. At this time, add the whey and stir. Continue filling the jar with salsa until it is an inch from the top. Stir again to incorporate whey thoroughly. Seal tightly and keep at room temperature for two days, followed by cold storage.
Enjoy with chips, tacos, fajitas, on hamburgers, mixed in to guacamole, on top of nachos, as a marinade . . . however the mood strikes you!
Just joining us? Please feel free to read this introductory post to learn more about the how’s and why’s of the process of lacto- fermentation preservation.
I’ve really been enjoying this series this week, as a frugal homemaker and as a way to learn a new artisanal craft. Each recipe has been surprisingly easy with great results! I’ve had so much fun, I’ve found I’ve made more than five recipes so as a special bonus, I have a few extra lacto-fermented recipes that I’ll be sharing next week! Come back by on Monday . . . here’s a hint (okay, I’m giving it away) Kumquat Marmalade! Have a great weekend!
*If you don’t have access to a grill you can also roast the vegetables indoors in a hot cast-iron skillet on the stove. In that case, I recommend only roasting the onions, peppers and garlic and keeping the tomatoes fresh and unroasted. The taste is still phenomenal!