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Re-Posted from www.penncrofthomestead.com

It’s the end of July and all my love and attention towards my tomatoes is starting to pay off. I have a few heirloom varieties; Brandywine, Green Zebra, Sungold, San Marzano and other standards like Roma and cherries. In my humble opinion, a fresh tomato is like no other. My cherries tomatoes hardly make it out of the garden since I end up popping them like candy. But for my tasty Romas and San Marzanos they get the sauce and salsa treatment. This simple salsa roja is made of pureed red tomatoes. You can use any sort of pepper you’d like for heat, but I prefer the smoky flavor of chipotle here. But the real secret to this, I think, is in the preparation of the uber ripe tomatoes…

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salsa roja

Start off with about a pound of Roma tomatoes, or another “sauce” variety. These will be a little sweeter and meatier than a big slicing tomato. We want to blanch them and remove their skins. Halve them, and notch out the rough stem part. In a large pan, put about an inch of water, and place the halved tomatoes skin side down. Start to boil the water. It doesn’t take long, and you’ll see the skin start to separate from the tomatoes. Turn off the heat and use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove them from the water. The skins will easily peel off. But be careful, they’re hot!

peeling tomatoes

I always burn myself on stuff, I chalk it up to impatience. As a little one, my Italian grandfather would always put up a hand tell me, “Aspetta!”, which means “wait” or “hold on”. Funnily enough, I didn’t know that until my adult life. Anyways, don’t burn yourself!

salsa roja

Add the peeled tomatoes to a blender along with one to two chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, add a little sauce too. Also add about a cupful of cilantro, and a heap of cumin. Blend it up!

Dice up a small sweet onion and two garlic bulbs. Get some oil hot in a pan and add the onions and garlic, but only saute for a minute so they don’t loose their biteyness. Then toss them into the blender with everything else. Pour the pureed goodness into a large pan and simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes. Give it a stir every so often. The salsa will reduce and the flavors will strengthen. Add a little salt to taste. This will yield about a mason jar’s worth and then some. That means a bowl for now, and a jar for the fridge. It is a bit of work, but I assure you it’s¬†definitely¬†worth it! Now you can confidently pass by the bland Old El Paso jars in the supermarket.

Now you have a recipe for your impending riot of garden tomatoes!