I have made many gallons of this stuff over the years. I first learned how to make this from my sister, who spent a number of years living in southern California, and shopping in Mexico. When I first started making this, probably 15 years ago, we were using green peppers in it. Back then, it was almost impossible to find the chilis here. It is much easier these days, and now that we know what kinds work well, we also grow them. The chili peppers are part of what makes this what it is. Of course, there are many different kinds of them, many of which are still not readily available in Michigan. But pablanos, anahiems, cubanos..those are all pretty easy to get most of the time, if you go to the larger supermarkets.
The way I make it is actually called pico de gallo, wherein the major ingredients – tomatoes, onions, chilis – are diced. So the whole thing is chunky. Salsa is chopped finer, actually works well if you pulse it lightly in the food processor. This give you much smaller chunks with a more tomato-y base. Then there is the one where they buzz it in the blender and turn it almost totally liquid. A friend of mine came to the U.S. from Mexico many years ago and this is how she and here sisters all make it. The flavor is the same but the texture obviously isn’t. I guess we just like the chunkiness. This is awesome on nachos, burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and not just for mexican food. I have many times thrown 1/2 cup or so into a pot of vegetable soup that needed a kick. I use some in nacho/taco meat. It is delicious with eggs or just to scoop with tortilla chips (my husbands favorite way to eat it).
One thing I have found in my visits with my friend from Mexico, my visits to Mexico, etc. is that in Mexico, they have regional specialties, just like most cultures, and salsa definitely varies depending on the region. I have seen it with roasted chilis and all kinds of different ways. This one is our favorite, just fresh everything.
All of these ingredient amounts are flexible, open to change according to your own taste preferences. You can use more or less of anything in there according to what you like. You could try roasting the chili peppers before you chop them, too.
NOTES: I lop the tops off the jalapeno peppers and do a fine blend in the food processor. This works better if you add the juice of a lime when you are processing. I do not remove the seeds. I will typically pulverize 6-8 peppers at a time, then freeze them in a zipper bag for use on later batches. If you chop these by hand, be VERY careful not to touch your eyes or other sensitive areas. The oils from the hot peppers tends to stay on your skin for hours. Wearing rubber gloves helps, but this is why I just make larger batches on minced hot peppers in the food processor.
Be careful of adding too much jalapeno all at once unless you are already familiar with them. Like any strong flavored fruits and vegetables, some are stronger than others. You can always add more heat, but you can’t take it back out.
- 1 to 1¼ pound fully ripe tomatoes
- 1 pablano chili pepper - seeded and diced to about ⅛" dice
- 1 cubanelle chili pepper - seeded and diced to about ⅛" dice
- 1 anaheim chili pepper - seeded and diced to about ⅛" dice
- ¾ of a large sweet onion - diced to about ⅛-1/4" dice
- ½ finely chopped cilantro - leaves and stems are fine
- 6 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice - about 3 small regular limes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Salt to taste
- About 1 Tablespoon jalapeno pepper - finely minced - I do not seed these (See above note)
- Chop/mince all ingredients as directed and mix. Taste and adjust ingredient quantities to taste. Flavors will change slightly as the salsa sits and the flavors meld together. You may want to add more jalapeno if you taste it the next day. I often do.