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Roasted Tomato Salsa with Fresh Cilantro and Tomatillos

Mariel here. I don’t have to tell you that fresh salsa beats the pants off the jarred stuff, so I won’t get into some long-winded explanation as to why I whipped this up. But I will tell you this: a) I was inspired by a delicious-looking Salsa Verde over at Mommie Cooks! b) this is an EXCELLENT accompaniment to the Pineapple Pork Tacos I posted last week – its frisky freshness really intensifies the smoky sweetness of the meat c) I decided to roast the tomatoes instead of popping them in naked to caramelize the sugars and add a deeper dimension to the brew. While roasting your toms is well worth the extra step, for faster prep, you can use uncooked tomatoes, but I suggest adding a good drizzle of honey. You’ll see why when you taste it.

Lastly, if you do decide to forgo DIY salsa altogether, I stumbled upon a fabulous pre-made version at my usually disappointing grocery store: Herr’s Southwestern Blackbean and Corn Salsa – it’s muy zesty, full of delicious nibbles and kernels, and it’s a lot cheaper than some of the gourmet varieties.

PS: Looking for other spreads, dips and salsas? check out our Mango Salsa, Sweet Pepper Pineapple Relish, Peach Relish, and Garden Guacamole.

PPS: Don’t forget to enter our Le Creuset French Oven giveaway, if you haven’t already. Ends May 2nd, 2011.

Roasted Tomato Salsa with Fresh Cilantro and Tomatillos
Makes about a quart

Note: Salsa freezes well in an airtight container, but because it has such a high water content, you may need to strain a bit of the excess liquid after thawing it

5 plum tomatoes, quartered and seeded (really any tomato works, if you use a big beefsteak, you may only need 1½) – $3.74
3 tomatillos, de-husked – $1.89
½ lime, juiced – $0.25
½ onion, quartered – $0.89
1 bunch of cilantro – $0.89
½ jalapeno, seeded – $0.40
3 cloves of garlic, divided – stock
2 Tablespoons of olive oil – stock
1 teaspoon cumin – stock
1 teaspoon honey – stock
A pinch of salt – stock
A pinch of ground black pepper – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $8.06

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Seed the tomatoes. In a glass casserole pan, combine the tomatoes, olive oil and one clove of minced garlic, tossing well. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper – make sure the tomatoes are skin-side down on the pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until the toms are flat and have started rendering their juices.

3. In a saucepan, boil water over high heat. Dunk the tomatillos and boil for about 5 minutes – they’ll get a nice rosy blush. Cut away the hard stem at the end.

4. In a food processor or blender, combine the roasted tomatoes (with all of their juices), the boiled tomatillos and all remaining ingredients. Pulse until the salsa reaches your desired “chunkiness.” Chill in the fridge in a sealed container (freeze whatever portion you don’t plan on using in the next week).