A great salsa is only as good as the salsa running down your arm! Lol! True story. One of the most fun dinner with friends and family, for me, is a taco party or taquiza. And before you can even decide on what kind of tacos you will serve, you must plan the salsa. Whether they are tacos de carne asada, chicken fajitas or grilled shrimp, the salsa you choose to garnish with is going to make that taco experience complete. For today’s blog post I chose three of my favorite salsa recipes to share with you. I do tend to keep these types of ingredients on hand all of the time when I can. And besides the salsa’s, you want to make sure you have ingredients like crumbled Mexican cheese, crema, avocado, fresh cilantro, onions, and limes to enjoy those tacos. And one of the best things about having leftover salsa from your taquiza party? Huevos rancheros or chilaquiles the next morning ! Bring on the salsa!
La Taquiza! It All Starts With The Salsa!
Salsa Taquera-Chile de Arbol Tomatillo Salsa
12 to 15 chile de arbol, stems removed
3 guajillo or california peppers, stems and seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, skins on
5 to 6 large tomatillos, husk removed and washed
Pinch of Mexican oregano
Splash of water
Salt to taste
Tips~ Wipe down the large dried chiles with a wet paper towels before using. They are sometimes a little dirty. To save time, I cook ingredients for several salsa’s or as much that I cn fit on the comal. The jalapeños for the are for the Salsa de Jalapeño Tatemada below.
Tips~ Charring the tomatillos can also be done on an outdoor grill or under the broiler.
1. On a preheated comal or pan, toast the dried chile de arbol and guajillo peppers. You will toast just for 1 or 2 minutes, if that. They will soften and become aromatic. Be careful not to let them burn or they will become bitter.
2. Remove the chiles from comal/pan and transfer them to a pot of simmering water. Cook for 10 minutes and remove from heat.On that same hot comal/pan you toasted the chiles on, add the tomatillos and garlic. Drizzle on just a touch of oil. Cook, turning as needed, until most spots on tomatillos char and start to soften. The garlic you will remove after 15 minutes.
3. Peel the skins off garlic, add to blender along with the charred tomatillos. Using a slotted spoon, add the chile de arbol and guajillo peppers. Add a splash of cooking water, pinch of Mexican oregano and salt to taste. Start by pulsing and then blend on high until smooth. Taste for salt. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Salsa de Chipotle
5 to 6 dried chipotle peppers
6 to 7 roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
Salt to taste
Tips~ In my opinion, I think that the dried chipotles are so much more smoky than the canned version. I love both, but for a true chipotle flavored salsa, I prefer the dried chiles.
1. In a saucepan, combine the tomatoes and chipotle peppers. If the chipotles still have a stems, carefullly cut it off. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue cooking until skins on tomatoes are loose and chipotles soften.
2. Using a slotted spoon, tranfer the chipotles to the blender. Remove tomatoes onto a plate and carefully peel off the loose skins, dicard skins. To the blender add tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, cumin, oregano, 1/2 cup cooking liquid and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Taste for salt.
3. Now you can serve the salsa as is, but I like to take the extra step of straining it using a wire mesh strainer. The results are a very smooth, smoky chipotle salsa!
Tips~ As I said before you can serve the salsa without straining it. The picture above shows the salsa before I strained it.
Salsa de Jalapeño Tatemada (Charred Jalapeño Salsa)
7 to 8 large jalapeños, stems removed
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano, crushed
Tips~ On days when I cannot use my outdoor grill, my favorite method of charring the jalapeños is on a comal on the stove top.
1. Add the jalpeños to a comal/pan and heat to medium heat. When they start to pop and become aromatic, turn heat down slightly and drizzle on just enough oil to coat the peppers. Continue cooking until nost sides are charred, turning as needed.
2. Remove peppers from comal and coarsely chop. Transfer tot he blender. Also add, the vinegar, water and salt to taste. Pulse to blend until desired consistency. Pour into serving dish, sprinkle with oregano and drizzle a little oil on top.