We have received a lot of wonderful wedding gifts that have to do with the kitchen, but this may be one of the more decadent, random and fun products we’ve received – our molcajete! Now realistically, we could definitely live without having one of these in our kitchen, however what fun is it to make fresh salsa and guac like they should be made! After Will seasoned and treated this beast of a device (it’s really big and super heavy), we finally decided to try it out. We had wanted it’s first run to be with guac, but it is certainly not avocado season and we always think of making guac approximately two hours before we want to make it, which is not the time to buy ripe avocados. You would think we would’ve learned that by now, but we haven’t. However, we did have all the right ingredients on hand to make salsa, so Will decided to try making a roasted salsa for the first time. We figured this would be a good opportunity to try a new recipe AND our new molcajete, so off we went. Not going to lie – this was a pretty amazing salsa. Plenty spicy, lots of delicious roasted flavors, and a certain freshness to it that couldn’t be matched coming out of a jar. The molcajete was a hit and we’re ready to make some guac in it soon…once we appropriately plan to have in-season avocados on hand and ripened by the time we want to eat it!

Cooking Notes: Will followed this recipe fairly closely, however we adjusted it to be able to use our new molcajete! He chose to de-stem and deseed the jalapenos, but if you want is spicier, you can leave them in. We also had a lot of jalapenos on hand, so Will used 4-5 instead of the 2-3 that the recipe called for. Will also didn’t end up needing the water or the cider vinegar that the recipe called for because the tomatoes were juicy enough, so he just added a splash of lime juice for flavor. This yields a pretty thick salsa, which was precisely what we were going for!

Roasted Jalapeno Salsa (adapted from Epicurious; serves 4-6)
1 1/2 lbs. ripe plum tomatoes
4-5 fresh jalapeno chiles, de-stemmed and deseeded
1/2 small white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
1+ tsp salt
1 tsp lime juice

Heat the broiler on its lower setting to start. Lay the whole tomatoes and prepared jalapenos on a rimmed baking sheet, then set the pan 4 inches below the broiler and broiler for 6 minutes or until darkly roasted (with a little black in some spots) on one side. With a pair of tongs, flip over the tomatoes and jalapenos to roast the other side for another 6 minutes or so. You don’t want to char them all but rather cook them through to help develop a nice, roasty flavor. You can also set the broiler to high for the last minute, watching carefully so nothing burns. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, peel the tomato skins (they probably will come off without much peeling needed).

Turn the oven down to 425 degrees and separate the onions into rings on another baking sheet, adding the onion as well. Roast in the oven, stirring carefully every few minutes, until the onions are nicely browned and wilted (with a teeny bit of char on the edges), around 15 minutes total. Cool to room temperature.

Once your ingredients are roasted, add the tomatoes and jalapenos to your molcajete. Crush the tomatoes/jalapenos until chunky, with juices being released. Add onions and garlic, continuing to crush ingredients to release flavors. Add cilantro, fresh ground salt, and lime juice to your liking, crushing in to make a thick, chunky salsa. Eat fresh with chips or chill to serve later. Enjoy!

Recipe: Epicurious: Roasted Jalapeno Salsa

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