Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over moderate heat. Cook the onion until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the metal blade or a blender
Add the remaining ingredients except the salt and puree, in batches if you are using a blender, until smooth. Pass through a medium strainer, pressing with a spatula or wooden spoon to push through as much pulp as possible. Pour into a sauce pan and add the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Store in the refrigerator 2 to 3 days or in the freezer for weeks.
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved