Easy Blender Salsa Fresca

By Adriana Velez, TheKitchn.com | May 31st, 2024

My dad’s salsa is the easiest salsa you’ll ever make


Dad's easy blender salsa fresca

Five simple ingredients, including fresh chiles, processed in a blender, and served – Dad’s Blender Salsa Fresca is easy and delicious.


My dad made two things when I was growing up: Saturday morning pancakes and salsa. Both were foods of adaptation. He is a Tapatio, a native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, who immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 21. He taught himself how to make the classic American breakfast for his American-born children. We covered our from-scratch pancakes with syrup and downed them like they were our birthright.

As for the salsa, Dad’s has no specific reference to Guadalajara. It’s simply the kind of salsa he could make using the ingredients available in the suburban grocery stores of Denver, Colorado, where we lived. As a kid I didn’t even know there was a name for it: salsa fresca, or fresh salsa, made with fresh ingredients rather than from dried chiles, which are used for most salsas.

I knew it only as “Dad’s salsa.” And just as he taught me how to ride a bicycle and hit a baseball (well, sort of), he taught me how to make it. It’s simply chopped onion, diced jalapeños, a handful of cilantro, and a can of whole tomatoes. (No garlic. Never garlic. I don’t know why.) Throw it all into the blender and pulse until it’s well-mixed, but still a little chunky.

These days I’ll seed and devein the jalapeños for a milder heat. My dad always liked his spicy enough to bring tears to your eyes, which is another reason why we called it Dad’s salsa: It was often too hot for the rest of us.

But this version is a salsa for all of us. It’s incredibly easy to make in a way I maybe take for granted. In fact, I once traded a jar for a framed photo of a chicken. (It’s a long story.)

Wash your hands assiduously after handling the chiles – or use gloves – and be careful not to over-blend. The salsa is good over eggs, in tacos, or, best of all, with a bag full of tortilla chips, while you try to help your kid hit a baseball.


How to treat jalapeño hands


Dad’s Blender Salsa Fresca

Serves 12 to 16; makes about 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large white onion
  • 1/2 medium bunch fresh cilantro
  • 2 medium jalapeño peppers
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

Directions:

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to a blender as you complete it: Dice 1/2 large white onion until you have 1 cup. Coarsely chop the leaves and tenders stems from 1/2 medium bunch fresh cilantro until you have 1 cup. Trim the stems and seeds from 2 medium jalapeño peppers, then dice.
  2. Pour off 1/3 cup of the juices from 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes. Pour the tomatoes and remaining juices into the blender. Add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Pulse until the salsa is well blended but still a little chunky, about 6 (1-second) pulses. Do not over-blend into a puree.
  3. Taste the salsa with a tortilla chip and stir in more kosher salt if needed. If not eating immediately, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Recipe notes

  • Substitutions: One serrano pepper can be substituted for the jalapeños. If you like your salsa extra spicy, keep the seeds and membrane in, and/or use more peppers.
  • Tomatoes: Any kind of canned, whole tomatoes, including San Marzano and plum, can be used here.
  • Make ahead: The salsa can be made up to one day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Adriana Velez is the executive editor at TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to editorial@thekitchn.com.

©2024 Apartment Therapy. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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