Saturday Recipe: Home-Made Roasted Tomato Salsa

Lately, friday’s have just been too busy for me to get around to posting a recipe. So I decided to switch my recipe posts to saturday. I’ll try to be reliable about posting a recipe every saturday.

I tried making homemade salsa for the first time about about two months ago. Once I’d made a batch of homemade, that was pretty much the end of buying salsa. It’s really easy to make, and fresh is just so much better than anything out of a jar. When it takes just five minutes of cooking to make, there’s just no reason to pay someone else for a jar of something that’s not nearly as good.

This recipe isn’t much to look at. It’s a tomato salsa – it looks pretty much like a salsa you’d buy in a store, except that it’s a paler pink, because the tomatoes weren’t cooked down. But in terms of taste, it’s an absolute knockout.

The original version of this recipe came from Mark Miller’s Salsa cookbook., which is a fantastic little book. But since I first made it, I’ve made enough changes that it’s really a very different salsa. Obviously, I like mine better :-).


  • 6 plum tomatoes.
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion, finely minced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Juice of 1 lime.
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro


In the instructions, I’m assuming you have a gas stove. If you don’t, you can do almost the same thing by laying things on a pan and putting them under a pre-heated broiler. It’s not quite the same, but it’s close.

  1. Impale a tomato on a barbeque fork. Turn the flame on your stove on high, and hold the tomato in the flame until the skin in the flame chars. Rotate the tomato until all of the skin is well-charred. Do this for all of the tomatoes.
  2. Break a clump of 4 garlic cloves off the head, and put them on the bbq fork. Put them in the flame, and turn slowly until the skin is completely burnt off the cloves, and the outside of the garlic cloves are charred.
  3. With a paper towel, brush the charred outside off of both the tomatoes and the garlic. Then put the garlic into the food processor and it until the garlic is finely minced. Then add 2/3s of the tomatoes, and again, run it intil they’re all minced.
  4. Put a pan on the stove on high heat. Put a bit of oil to the bottom of the pan, and add 1/2 of the onions. Cook them until they’re well carmelized.
  5. Add both the cooked and raw onions to the mix in the food processor.
  6. Mince one chipotle in adobe sauce, and add it to the food processor. Pulse it once or twice to mix things in.
  7. Move the stuff from the food processor into a mixing bowl.
  8. Chop the remaining tomatoes, and add them to the bowl. (This gives you a nice bit of chunky texture.)
  9. Add the salt, sugar, lime juice, and cilantro, and mix.

And that’s it. The best damn tomato salsa you’ve ever tasted.

On of the really fun things about a home-made salsa like this is that it’s really flexible. You can (and should!) play around with it. You can add minced or roasted fresh chiles for more heat. A splash of tequila in addition to the lime juice is a nice change. You could add a bit of cumin when you’re cooking the onions. Raw garlic gives it a nice edge in addition to the mellowed flavor of the charred garlic. You can add some sauteed fresh corn. Or some minced raw tomatoes that haven’t been cooked at all.

You can use it with fresh chips, or as a sauce on tacos. You can use it in place of ketchup on a burger. It would be absolutely fantastic as a sauce on a nice steak. I’ve used it as the sauce for a batch of stuffed italian frying peppers, and it was terrific. It would be fantastic on a cheese omelete. Pretty much the sky is the limit -this stuff has such a nice, fresh, clean flavor, it goes well with all sorts of things.

0 thoughts on “Saturday Recipe: Home-Made Roasted Tomato Salsa

  1. chezjake

    A very nice recipe, Mark. I’ll have to try it. I’ve been making my own salsas for years, although mostly uncooked ones, and in the winter I often cheat and use canned petite diced tomatoes.
    An option for those (like me and my family) who have the genetic “uncooked cilantro tastes just like Ivory soap” trait, substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground coriander seed for one tablespoon of fresh cilantro.

  2. Wouter Lievens

    Non-native English speaker here
    chezjake: According to Wikipedia, Cilantro is the same thing as Coriander. Could you elaborate? I get your point though, with Coriander: I like a little bit of it, but too much just tastes like citronella soap.

  3. Mark C. Chu-Carroll

    My understanding is that the cilantro/coriander thing is a geographic distinction – sort of like arugula. (In the US, it’s usually called Arugula; it Britain, it’s usually called Rocket; and some people use “Rocket” to mean baby arugula).
    In some places, the plant is called cilantro; in others it’s called coriander; in still others, the seeds are called coriander and the leaves cilantro.
    I try to be clear by referring to “fresh cilantro” or “coriander seed”.

  4. rimpal

    Coming as I do from a family where onions is verboten on Saturdays and Tuesdays, and garlic always, I have learnt a few cheats from my mum, to get around this. I use a combination of asafoetida, or hing, and ajwain (caroway), (for garlic) and v.finely minced celery or fennel bulb (for onion), to work around. I swear you wouldn’t know the difference!
    Great recipe. Have you tried using rock salt or sea salt instead of plain salt?

  5. Mark C. Chu-Carroll

    I pretty much always use coarse salt, either sea salt or kosher salt. Honestly, I can’t taste the difference between the different salts, but when you’re cooking, coarse salt is easier to work with: you can accurately feel how much you’re putting in with a pinch.

  6. Anne

    In Minnesota we have had snow and a hard freeze, and I still had loads of big green tomatoes on the vine, so I made salsa verde with them, doing pretty much exactly what you did for yours. It is a delicious way to use tomatoes that didn’t get a chance to ripen.

  7. iHunger

    I haven’t tried a cooked salsa in a while, but this one looks interesting. I normally do something closer to a pico, but the ingredients look similar (although sometimes I toss in some black beans or black-eye peas).
    I like mine with a lot of heat so I would probably pass on the sugar.


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