Dry-roasting vegetables on a flat, heavy pan called a comal tames the sharper flavors and adds a smoky dimension (you can also use a heavy frying pan). Chipotle chiles -- canned smoked jalapenos -- add even further depth of flavor. This salsa is a great alternative for dipping chips or garnishing tacos, tamales or enchiladas.
- 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1 small red onion, unpeeled, cut into quarters
- 4 firm-ripe red tomatoes
- 1 canned chipotle in adobo
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Place a comal or a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat; do not oil. Place garlic, onion, and tomato (all with their skins) in pan and roast, turning, as needed, with tongs, until blistered and charred all over. Let vegetables cool slightly, then peel off skins.
In a blender, combine vegetables with chipotle chile and cilantro leaves. Whirl until coarsely pureed. (If using a mortar and pestle, finely chop cilantro leaves with cooked, peeled onion and garlic. Mash tomatoes and chipotle in mortar, then stir in chopped vegetables and cilantro). Squeeze lime juice into salsa, then stir in oil. Taste, season with salt, and serve. Can be made ahead, covered, and refrigerated up to 3 days.