Salsa de Molcajete

2018 July 2018

By Manzanillo Sun Writer  from the July 2018 Edition

Roasted Tomato and Green Chile Salsa

This is archetypal salsa, made from tomatoes, green chiles, cilantro, and lime. But more than a mere mix of ingredients, salsa de molcajete uses centuries-old techniques to combine flavors, bringing out the best of each.


✓ 6 plum tomatoes (about 1 pound)
✓ 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
✓ 2 jalapeño peppers
✓ 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
✓ 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
✓ 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
✓ 1/4 teaspoon salt


Step 1

Preheat broiler.

Step 2

Place the tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeños on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 16 minutes, turning after 8 minutes. Cool and peel tomatoes and garlic. Combine the garlic and peppers in a molcajete, mortar, or bowl; pound with a pestle or the back of a spoon to form a paste. Add tomatoes, and coarsely crush using the pestle or spoon. Combine the tomato mixture, cilantro, and remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

Chef’s Notes

Roasting tomatoes gives them a sweet and complex taste; rinsing onion under cold water makes it crisp; and crushing roasted garlic and chiles in a mortar releases their full flavor.

Though it’s typically done in a molcajete (Mexican lava rock mortar), you can also make this salsa using a marble mortar and pestle (as we did). Finely chopping the garlic and chile in a food processor then adding the tomatoes and pulsing the mixture until everything is coarsely pureed will yield great-tasting results as well.

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