There are many great things about living in New England, but the Mexican food is not one of them. My husband grew up in central California and we lived in Los Angeles for two years before moving to Massachusetts, so we (especially James) are used to good authentic Mexican food. We knew it would be hard, living in Massachusetts, to find good Mexican food, but we didn’t think it would be impossible. We asked around, got suggestions from people who live here, and hit up the local Mexican joints.

The salsa is the first indication of the quality of the food. The Mexican-ness of it, if you will. So when we get served up a dish of ketchup that the waitress proudly declares is their house-made salsa, we know. New Englanders, it seems, have no idea what real salsa is like: fiery and bright, zinging with cilantro and lime, pureed nearly smooth, spicy but not just spicy – complex and interesting.

There are very, very few restaurants that serve this sort of salsa in New England.

So when this recipe appeared in my google reader, I knew I had to try it. James is a salsa fiend. And it’s a winner. Ree Drummond,  AKA the Pioneer Woman, may live on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma, but sister knows her salsa.

It’s everything that salsa should be, it’s as close to true Mexican salsa that we can get out here. And best of all, it’s easy to put together. It uses canned tomatoes, which are consistently tasty year round, so your salsa consumption doesn’t have to be relegated to the few weeks in summer when local tomatoes are ripe. And it makes probably four or five cups of salsa, which is a whole lot of salsa (unless you’re James).

If you’re looking for a dip to bring to a Superbowl game this weekend, trust me: bring this.

Pioneer Woman’s Salsa

From The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes in juice

2 cans (10 oz) diced tomatoes and chiles (Rotel, if you can find it)

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, chopped (with seeds)

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/2 cup cilantro (I tend to lean more towards 1 cup)

Juice of half of a lime

Put all of the ingredients in your food processor or blender and pulse to achieve your desired consistency. PW recommends 10 to 15 pulses, so that’s pretty much what I do, too. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary, and serve with tortilla chips.

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