Ramirez Red Salsa

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By Popular Request
Salsa is one of the most annoyingly misrepresented items in the whole of the Mexican Cuisine (it's up there with and Burritos).  Everywhere you go these days you see claims of  fresh, authentic, or real Mexican salsa: it is in uninspired menus, in horrid jars in supermarket shelves and in cookbooks with interpretations of Mexican dishes by people who have never had real Mexican food in their lives! I always try not to get too worked up about it, but as you already guessed, I fail at it every time. Yesterday we went for a walk in Dun Laoghaire pier and by pure chance we ended up in one of those restaurants with American Southwestern style food. Now, I'm sure all my American readers would be horrified to see the disservice done to Southwestern food in that menu, but nevertheless, we ended up there and I counted 9 items in the menu with some sort of salsa in them (sometimes I wonder if the whole idea of 'spicing it up' has been taken way too far?). So today, I vow to set the record straight: no more dodgy salsas for you: I give you the Holy Trinity of Mexican Salsa: tomato, chili and onion.   
It always amazes me how these three small ingredients can taste so good when made into a Salsa and how different the flavour of the salsa is depending on the type and ripeness of the tomatoes, the type of chili or onions you use and how you cook them: if you roast the ingredients the salsa will be different than if you boil them or fry them. Salsas are a sort of Mexican heritage item; they have been there since before the Spaniards arrived in the American Continent and little or nothing has changed in the way we make them since Aztec and Mayan times. There are tons of different types and recipes and they vary from family to family; I'm giving you here a recipe for a salsa I use regularly at home. Hope you enjoy like it!

Note: I have used generic terms for tomatoes and chili. Please keep in mind that you can use any variety of tomato or chili for these recipe as long as they're fresh. In Mexico we have plum tomatoes widely available and Serrano chili is the preferred choice, but I love it with Jalapeno or the Kenyan chili varieties found easily in Ireland. The most important thing when making your salsa is to use WHOLE chilies. Don't deseed them (it's hard works and all flavour will be gone and you'll be eating what Mexicans would consider just a weed!). If you are worried about them being too hot, use half a chili instead, but for pity's sake, don't take the seeds out!


Put the olive oil, tomatoes, scallions, chili and garlic in a small, non-stick pan and turn the heat on to medium high. As soon as the pan starts sizzling, put the lid on and lower the heat to a minimum. Cook them covered for about 15 to 20 minutes. The tomatoes should be fully cooked, soft and some burst into the pan. Take the pan off the heat. 


Transfer the contents of the pan, including the juices, to a blender or food processor; add the stock cube whole and liquidize the contents until you have a very smooth, nearly creamy sauce. Taste for seasoning before adding the salt, I find sometimes the tomatoes are very sweet and they would need a bit of extra salt. Transfer the salsa to a bowl and enjoy it!

One important thing to know here is that sometimes tomatoes are very juicy, so when liquidizing you must decide how much liquid to use. I like this particular salsa thick, so if there's a lot of juice in the pan, I only use half to start with and I take it from there. If you like the salsa with a more runny consistency, use all the juices. It's up to you to decide.


This salsa is dead easy to make, it keeps well in the fridge covered for up to a week, just bring it to room temperature before you use it as there's nothing worse than a cold salsa. Enjoy it with some home made as a deep or in your favourite taco or . I use the leftovers of this salsa in pasta sauces, it adds a bit of flavour to the regular Italian basic sauce. Next time you have a few people over, make this, it's perfect party food!