I have a subscription to a new magazine, Chow. It's only three issues old. It does have recipes in it, but it's not really a cooking magazine. I think it's still looking for its "voice", but generally I'd say it wants to sound young and track ingredient, beverage, and entertaining trendiness.
In a recent article, the author wants the recipe for the popular salsa at a Mexican grille in San Francisco called Papalote. The owner won't divulge the secret, so the author and her food editor go to great reverse-engineering lengths to recreate the recipe.
I like a lot of different salsas, different salsas for different occasions, so I'd have a hard time saying one or the other is the "perfect" salsa. Nevertheless, this one isn't it. It's okay. But "perfect"? Hardly.
The recipe says it makes 2 cups, but after pureeing, I realized that I had a lot more than that. I decided to cook it a little longer to reduce it more, but there's still way more than 2 cups and it's thinner than I'd like. Anyway, since Gary and I won't eat that much, I've decided to freeze half, but without stirring in the green onions and cilantro. Since it's a cooked salsa, not salsa fresca, I'm guessing that the texture won't be compromised.
5 roma tomatoes, cored and halved
10 dried chiles de arbol, stemmed, halved and seeded
2 teaspoons ground dried pasilla peppers
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons shelled pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons white vinegar
3/4 cup minced green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1. Preheat broiler. Place the tomatoes skin side up on a baking sheet. When the broiler is hot, char the tomatoes until the skins are slightly burned.
2. Remove the tomatoes from oven and place them in a stainless-stell pot. Add the chile de arbol, pasilla, salt, sugar, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often.
3. While the tomato mixture is cooking, turn the oven to 350 degrees and toast the pumpkin seeds until just browned. Remove the seeds from tray and cool.
4. After the 20 minutes, add the white vinegar to the tomato mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add the toasted pumpkin seeds. Place the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth.
5. Pour the salsa into a container and stir in the green onions and cilantro. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.