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Salsa de Molcajete

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gracoman View Drop Down
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    Posted: 20 June 2015 at 08:54
There is an upscale Mexican restaurant in town that offers custom molcajete salsa made at table side.  This is where I fell in love with this style of freshly made salsa.  I did not, however, fall in love with the price my local molcajete salsa making friends were charging and was only to happy to begin making my own at home.

The molcajete is an ancient Mexican version of a mortar and pestle carved from a single block of volcanic basalt.  The molcajete (mortar) and tejolote (pestle) has been in use for thousands of years to grind spices, prepare salsas, guacomole, and even cook in it after heated.  It may or may not be decorated with the head of an animal, most commonly a pig, on the outside of the bowl.  The molcajete produces a superb fresh salsa that retains texture and is nuanced by the flavors absorbed by previous uses.  Molcajetes are typically passed down through generations.

This salsa is mostly a traditional one which only departs slightly from what may be regarded as the mother salsa from which all others are derived.  The ingredients are: tomatoes, onion (green and sweet), cilantro, lime, serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, one anaheim, salt, pepper, and garlic (not pictured).


The vegetables may be charred in a comal or grilled over coals.  Here I am adding a bit of smoke before the char.


Everything gets a good char before the grinding begins


The Molcajete and tejolote


Begin by grinding salt, pepper, and garlic into a paste


Add chilis and keep working it.  I chop the charred veggies to make grinding easier.  It may not be traditional but it is much simpler.


Add tomatoes and keep working it until you arrive at the texture you seek.  Garnish with green onion and lime.


This isn't your typical grocery store salsa.  It's not even your typical freshly made salsa.  The molcajete produces the finest salsa I've ever had the pleasure of tasting.  Allow the salsa to sit in the molcajete overnight and it will only improve.


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drinks View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2015 at 14:53
I have one minor problem with the components, I do not really care for jalapeno, the serrano is fine also cayenne, big jim, anaheim and several other chilies and when I have some on hand, chili pequines
The big no-no for me is the sorry cilantro.
I belong to the other group on it, aka, nasty stuff!!!!!!
For those without the tool, pico de gallo is a very close second.
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2015 at 18:06
I'm with you on the jalapeno, Drinks. If you remove the heat from a jalapeno all that's left is a sort of green, grassy taste. There's no real flavor to it at all.

With so many great, flavorsome chilies around, I've never understood the popularity of the jals.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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gonefishin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2015 at 18:21
    Myself, I don't mind the grassy flavor of the jalapeno...I like the other peppers as well.  Often I'll mix different peppers together, trying to keep the heat down by removing the ribs and seeds.  I especially like mixing types of dried chilis when sauteing.  



   That aside...I'll have to give this recipe a try...thanks for sharing Graco!  Looks great!
Enjoy The Food!
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gracoman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2015 at 19:37
You folks have a keen eye.  JalapeƱos are not part of the traditional salsa which uses only serrano peppers.  I added a couple because they were on hand, nearing the end of viability, and were particularly hot.  I realize you folks aren't fond of heat but I love it. Japs are infinitely better when roasted with a good char.

drinks, I can't help you with the cilantro thing cause there are them's that do and them's that don't.  I used to be a don't guy but seemed to have grown out of that.

I was browsing through a large Army/Navy type of store last weekend when I came upon two dusty molcajete's.  I wouldn't have normally bought one, but here two were dancing under my nose that were priced to sell because they couldn't move them.  Prepping and seasoning this beast was a huge PITA but it's all just a "happy" memory now.

I've got plans for this thing.
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AK1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2015 at 20:15
Sounds like a reason to break out my molcajete.  Thanks for the recipe.
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drinks View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2015 at 20:45
Graco, my problem with jalapenos has nothing to do with the heat, as you may have deduced from my reference to chili pequines,I just do not like thick walled peppers, including bells .
I use a lot of Melinda's habanero bottled salsa, the best available, in my opinion.
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gracoman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 June 2015 at 09:52
The best part of cooking at home is the ability to customize whatever we are putting together.  There really are no rules other than "whatever floats my boat" Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 June 2015 at 11:35
I have not had a molcajete in several years, but the last one I broke in by grinding some dry corn kernels in it, as I recall, it smoothed things out quickly.
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