Emma's Salsa - Warm Tomato Jalapeño EZ Salsa Suprema

Emma is someone I worked with in the fashion biz years ago.

Every day she brought her own lunch, and every week it was a fine selection of homemade Mexican food. Tacos, tamales, enchiladas, tortas. YUM. Emma was always a sharer. Thank you Emma.

One day, the smell at her lunch table was insane and I was drawn over to her like a Chuck Jones cartoon character floating over a white cloud of aroma in the shape of a finger.

She shared some with me and I nearly died. What. Is. In. There???? It must be like a mole, 20 plus ingredients.

It was just chiles, onions, tomatoes, garlic. The usual suspects. But it was the ratio and the frying of the salsa after it was blended that made it so special. Oh and just the right amount of salt.

This was before I was the Taco Maven. The Herdez Salsa Casera has always been my fave. As much as I love Trader Joes, I don't like a single salsa that I have tried. All close to flavorless. And the supermarket Pico de Gallos are ridiculous. The minute you chop that stuff up it starts to go bad.

Currently, the two places I would drive just to get some salsa togo, and then go back home and put that salsa on my own taco are: 1) Viva Fresh in Westchester on Sepulveda Blvd. 2) Tinga Taqueria on La Brea. Their house salsa is a REVELATION. Bottle that shite please. Sell it at Trader Joe's.

This recipe probably serves 6-8 but for 2 I would halve it and make it fresh each time...

She also gave me another tip and said if you cut jalapenos face down once you have cut them in half, your fingers will be saved.

5 Tomatoes (med sized... romas or round) chopped
1/2 med white onion (finely diced)
1 or 2 med cloves of garlic (finely diced)
8 Jalapeno chiles (finely diced - seeds included)
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
2-4 Tbl. olive oil (heated)

*** She did not add cilantro - lots of people don't like it anyway, but if you feel like it, add some!

If you are great with the Cuisinart then go 'machine' all over yourself. You want a rough blend, not a soup. You want to see bits of everything and you want it to have some body. But you also want it to be smooth.

Finely chop everything, except the tomatoes (more chunky) and then give it about 3, 4 second bursts with one of those hand-immersion-blender wands (with blade in not the whipper)

When you have your nicely blended, but rough, mixture, you fry it in a pan with the hot oil for maybe 3-5 minutes... and that's when you add the salt.

Sometimes it feels like a little too much tomato and if the jalapenos don't have enough heat for you, go ahead and add 1 Serrano or 1/2 a Habenero (dios mio!)

There is something about this blend, maybe by frying it in the oil, that keeps the salsa from going bad quickly. And it's so so so so pretty. And tasty.

Viva La Salsa!!!!!

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