Fresh Restaurant Style Salsa

Story by Natalie
Fresh Restaurant Style Salsa
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The Best Restaurant Style Salsa

Friends, I’m not joking when I say I’ve been on the hunt for the best restaurant-style salsa recipe for years and I have finally found it! 

My tomato plants are currently dripping with big green romas just waiting for a couple more weeks of heat to turn them ruby red. And just like every year, once this process takes place I’ll be left with at least 50 lbs of tomatoes that need to be used ASAP.

Fresh Restaurant Style Salsa

So, what do I do with all of my garden tomatoes?

In the past, I’ve made as much of this three ingredient tomato sauce as I can, which I then freeze to carry us through the winter. This year though, I’ve finally perfected this restaurant-style salsa just in time and I know it’s where the bulk of my tomato harvest will be going.

What makes this salsa recipe extra special?

  • A good char on the tomato skins
  • Cooked and raw onions
  • And the key ingredient: avocado
Fresh Restaurant Style Salsa

I know it’s a large claim to say you’ve discovered the best of anything, but I’m pretty confident here. A few years back I spent some time in Mexico on a family vacation, which just so happened to synch up with a trip my favorite foodie pals were on. One fantastic evening together we splurged and had a private chef prepare us an authentic dinner (which is a must when you’re with fellow food lovers in a foreign land). It was during that magical meal where I first tasted this most perfect of salsas.

Fast forward 4 years later and this summer I finally feel like I’ve mastered that smokey, sweet, and spicy cravable flavor of that perfect salsa.

My 4 year struggle is largely due to the fact that produce just tastes different in different countries. Jalapeños are less or more hot and tomatoes are sweeter or more bitter, depending on where you are. But, with a few tweaks and adjustments, I think I’ve finally perfected the ideal balance of flavors. Without further ado, I offer you this salsa recipe. I’m betting it wins you over just as much as it has me.

Fresh Restaurant Style Salsa

What kind of tomatoes work best for salsa?

Romas. Always romas. Unless you’re ultra fancy and have access to San Marzano’s. These tomato varieties are key to good texture as they offer more meat in the flesh and less water in their gut. If you aren’t growing romas in your garden, or if you’re making this in the off season, look for overripe tomatoes. Grab the ones with the wrinkled skins that are about to go bad. Trust me.

As I mentioned earlier, tomatoes can have a different flavor in Mexico than here, which is why I like to add a cup of crushed tomatoes from a can to richen this salsa  up a bit. This step is entirely optional, but in my opinion it really elevates that bold tomato flavor we all love.

How do you make homemade salsa?

Every homemade salsa recipe I’ve seen out there is a dump and blend recipe. In this version, we like to char the skins for extra flavor. No need to cut, peel, prep or trim. Just toss everything in a pot of piping hot oil and let it cook until the skins are black. Lower the heat, cover and let simmer to soften the vegetables. This step cannot be skipped or you’ll miss out on that incredible smokey flavor!

Once you add all those yummy ingredients into the blender, add in your extra crushed tomatoes, a heavy hand of salt, fresh cilantro, and fresh onions, then blend away! No vinegar or lime necessary. Once the salsa is blended I add my favorite ingredient, avocado, then blend just a bit more. This makes for the smoothest texture, plus avocados…duh!

Fresh Restaurant Style Salsa

What to serve your salsa with:

Other than chips, here are a few of our favorite ways to serve this incredible salsa:

Huevos Rancheros

Breakfast Burrito

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Tacos

Fresh Restaurant Style Salsa

Serves 8

Ingredients

3 tbsp canola oil
8-10 almost over ripe roma tomatoes
2-3 jalapeños
1 white onion, cut in half
6 whole garlic cloves
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2-3 tsp sea salt
1 ripe avocado

Method

  1. In a large pot heat oil over high heat. Crowd tomatoes, jalapeños, half of the white onion and garlic in a single layer in pan. Allow to cook on high without turning until vegetables are charred. Turn over and repeat on other side.
  2. Once completely charred, about 3-5 minutes on each side, reduce heat to low and cover pot with a lid. Allow to simmer with lid on for 15 minutes. Once cooked remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  3. In a food processor add charred vegetables starting with only 1 jalapeño at a time along with crushed tomatoes. Add in cilantro, salt and other half of the white onion. Blend on low until desired texture is achieved. If not spicy enough, add more jalapeño one at a time.
  4. Add in avocado and pulse until avo is mixed in. Adjust salt as needed. Store for up to 1 week refrigerated in an airtight container.