My husband happens to have a slight obsession with smoking things. Not cigarettes or cigars. Meats, spices, veggies, whatever he can get on the grill (and he is a charcoal purist I should mention–propane and natural gas just don’t do it for him). Normally I indulge him because it means less for me to cook (yay!) when I really could care less about what type of wood chips he uses. This recipe happens to be so simple but I have to hand it to him–he has hit it out of the park! I am obsessed with this stuff now and he’s made several batches for me–all perfectly delicious.
This is the season for bumper crops of luscious ripe tomatoes and peppers of every color to be ripening on the vine right now, so salsa is an obvious way to combine the bounty. Be sure to choose a large meaty tomato like beefsteak, roma, striped roman, or almost any heirloom–you don’t want it to be all juice! Use whatever peppers you can get your hands, balancing the flavor by using both sweet and hot, but use a good variety. Keep in mind that the spiciness of the pepper will decrease quite a bit by heating/cooking it. If you want it really spicy, include the seeds; to keep it milder, toss them. This will make a good size batch, between 1 and 2 quarts, so make this for a party or plan to freeze, can or ferment some.
2-3 lbs fresh tomatoes
1-2 lbs fresh peppers (we used white, yellow, orange, red and purple bell peppers, a few anaheims, 2 serranos and 3 or 4 jalapenos)
1-2 sweet onions
sea salt, to taste (we used a chunkier grey celtic)
fresh cilantro, garlic, whole corn and/or prepared black beans, depending on what flavor salsa you want
Prepare your grill by lighting your charcoal and waiting until the briquettes are powdery white and very hot. Pile all of the hot charcoal on one side of the grill. Grab a few handfuls of hickory, cherrywood or mesquite grilling chips and wrap them up in a foil pouch. Pierce several holes in the top of the foil pouch and place on foil on top of the hot coals with holes facing up. Wash all of the tomatoes and peppers and cut them in half or thirds if really large. If using garlic or corn, feel free to smoke them with the other veggies or add fresh at the end. Arrange them on your grilling surface on the side opposite the hot coals so they get indirect heat only along with plenty of smoke. Close grill and smoke them for 20-30 minutes, until they are tender, skins are starting to peel and they have slight char marks. Remove from grill and place them on a large cutting board. The skins should all come off easily–discard them, along with any stems and seeds (optional). Squeeze any excess juice from tomatoes and place them in blender, food processor, food mill, or use an immersion blender to puree. Chop roasted peppers and fresh onions and add to tomato puree. Salt to taste. Add your cilantro, garlic, corn, beans, etc. Chill for at least one hour before devouring!
This salsa is so good you’ll be looking for new ways to use it so that you can eat it at every meal! This morning, I piled it on my tiny fried eggs (my chickens just started laying, so they are still small 🙂 )over sprouted wholegrain toast.