I’m in complete grill mode right now. I’ve grilled something outside a few days a week now for the last few weeks and I’m having a hard time picturing how I ever survived without a grill. It’s a lot faster too grill stuff, the clean up is easy which Betsy likes, and once you get the hang of it, I find that the food is almost always better.
While grilled meat is always a star, people forget that grilling food just does fantastic things to it in general. Any food that has sugars in it, it’ll slightly caramelize them. It evaporates a lot of liquid, enhancing flavors. It can give a slightly charred flavor to certain foods which is great in small doses.
One quick appetizer that benefits hugely from the power of the grill is salsa. I’ve made a few different varieties of this over the past month or two and, honestly, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.
Yield: 4-5 cups
4 Roman tomatoes
1/2 red onion
3-4 cloves garlic
A handful of sweet peppers
Handful of cilantro
Drizzle of olive oil
Grill (or you could roast in the oven)
1) Wash veggies and chop them into big pieces, halves and quarters.
2) Toss veggies with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt.
3) Add veggies to grill pan or foil and grill over high heat for 10-15 minutes until veggies are blistered and bursting.
4) Let cool for at least a few minutes.
5) Pulse in a blender until it reaches the consistency you want.
6) Serve warm or cold with chips!
It’s tough for me to write recipes for stuff like salsa because I usually just wing it and encourage you to do the same. I start at the store or farmers market and just look for stuff that looks nice and fresh. That’s the most important part of a salsa.
On this given day I decided to do a half tomato, half tomatillo thing, which I’ve never done before. I really like the mix though.
If you have lots of colors on your cutting board, you’re off to a good start!
The veggies are super-easy to prep for this. Since we’re grilling them, you want to keep them pretty whole. I cut most of my stuff in half unless it was really big, then I cut it into quarters. I kept my jalapeno seeds in so it would be pretty spicy. Take them out if you want it less spicy.
I tossed all my veggies in a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled them with a bit of kosher salt before tossing them in my grill pan. If you don’t have a grill pan you could wrap everything in foil and poke some holes in it.
Grilling the Salsa
Crank up the heat on the grill and let your veggies cook for about 10-15 minutes. If you can, keep the lid closed and turn the veggies every few minutes to make sure they are cooking evenly.
Now. If you don’t have a grill, I’d recommend roasting these guys in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes and you should end up with a very close finished product.
You’ll know you’re done when the peppers start blistering and the tomatoes bursting!
Once all the veggies have become a bit tender and charred, remove them from the grill to let them cool a bit.
Then add them to your blender (you may have to work in two batches) along with a small handful of cilantro.
Pulse it up until it’s the consistency you want. I recommend keeping it a bit on the chunky side.
NOTE: When blending, make sure not to overfill your blender or use hot foods as they could splatter which isn’t a good experience.
It should go without saying that you can serve this up warm or cold with lots of chips!
As with most salsas, I found that this stuff was even better on day two actually when the flavors had a chance to meld a bit.
I don’t mind store bought salsa one bit, but this is a very quick way to make a good amount of very tasty salsa.
Give it a shot the next time you’re itching for some Tex-Mex!