Today I felt like going back to the keyboard and write something. Ever since the sudden death of my brother, I've been feeling pretty down and uncharacteristically uninspired. Normally, my head is buzzing with ideas, yet for the last couple of months, it's been all slow and fuzzy... I've been doing just the bear minimum and coping the best way I can. A few weeks ago, I went back to the kitchen and forced myself to cook again. Cooking makes me happy and I was desperate for some joy.
I believe things happen for a reason and getting back into the kitchen coincided with an all-too-short-but-meaningful recipe testing internship our friend Emma Clarke, aka @grumbletum on twitter and instagram, did with me. I love Emma's wackiness and her no-nonsense approach. So Wednesdays were set aside to spend them in the shop with Emma, cooking and testing recipes. We always eat what we cooked, which made the day even better.
One of the first recipes we worked on was this Salsa Tatemada or charred salsa and I thought I'll share it here with you. Lovely Emma is now finished her spell with me and she's off to work in one of my favourite shops on the planet (Sheridan's Cheese Mongers), so keep an eye for the gorgeously chatty blond in there. You'll know is Emma when you talk to her, there's something about her witty ways that sets her apart from the crowd.
This a very classic charred salsa, commonly made in most homes in Mexico, where the majority of the population have gas stoves (electricity is quite expensive), so if you have an open flame stove, this salsa will be even better made on it by sticking the ingredients in a skewer and gently roast them on the open flame. My recipe here, requires to char them in a pan because I have to do with what I have, which is an electric hob.
Make sure you use a cast iron pan or skillet, as most other pans will burn badly. If you can't find fresh jalapenos, use any fresh chili you can find. We cannot be choosy with fresh ingredients like chilies in Ireland unfortunately, but we are getting better at sourcing the good stuff. Anyhow, this salsa keeps well in the fridge for about a week in a covered container. I hope you enjoy it as much as Emma and I did!
Wash all ingredients well and set them aside. Heat a cast iron pan or skillet using medium-high heat. Do not add any oil. Place the tomatoes, the jalapeño and garlic on the hot, dried pan. After a couple of minutes, turn them on the pan to ensure they char evenly all around. Cook them for about 15 minutes in this manner. After 15 minutes, add the scallions to the pan and char them in a similar manner for about 5 minutes and then take them and the garlic out of the pan and set them aside.
Continue charring the tomatoes and chilli for further 5 to 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are fully cooked. Transfer all charred ingredients to the blender or food processor and add the fresh coriander. Season with salt and pepper to taste and blend till smooth.
This is a gorgeously tangy salsa, with a delicate charred taste to it. It's delicious over my Golden Chicken Tacos and works great as a dipping sauce too. We had it all gone with a bag of tortilla chips on the day! It keeps well in the fridge and at the end of the week, if it's not all gone, add it to your pasta sauce for an extra kick!