Fire Roasted Salsa Negra is an intense Mexican black salsa is made with roasted tomatoes and peppers for a deep dark color and a gutsy flavor. Caution, this recipe involves playing with fire, and a whole lot of smoky spice ~ it’s not for the timid!
fire roasted salsa negra is smokey, bold, and delicious!
My inspiration comes from Baja Fresh, one of my favorite Tex-Mex fast food chains…they have a similar dark salsa on their salsa bar, and I’ve been meaning to recreate it for years!
most of the salsas I make are light, colorful, and fruity
You might have tried my Strawberry Jalapeño Salsa or this summer’s Peach Jalapeño Salsa. One of my personal favorites is my mixed Spicy Fruit Salsa, it’s bursting with color. Did you know I’ve made salsa with everything from cantaloupe and mushrooms to papaya and pomegranate? This one is a real departure from all that, for sure! The deep ‘black’ color comes from charring the tomatoes and peppers before they’re pureed. The blackened skin not only adds color, it adds tons of smoky flavor.
how to fire roast tomatoes and peppers 3 ways
- You can roast your peppers on an outdoor grill, just lay them directly on the grates and wait until they blacken.
- Under the broiler ~ you can arrange your veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet and place on the highest slot, closest to your broiler flame. Check on them frequently and turn to blacken on all sides.
- You can do this right on your stove top if you have gas burners. Hold the peppers with a long pair of tongs to hold them safely and securely while you blacken them. Note: this is not a job for kids.
- Use caution when blackening peppers over an open flame, they can briefly catch fire.
- Tomatoes are best done under the broiler because of their juiciness.
do you remove the skins after roasting?
No, leave the blackened parts alone, they will blend up and give this salsa its distinctive flavor and color.
To roast dried peppers
- Soak them first in hot water to soften their skins.
- Then you can roast them as above.
which peppers to use for salsa negra
I used both dried Hatch chiles, (above) and fresh green pasillo chiles, as well as a couple of jalapenos. Dried chile pods can be found in most large supermarkets, but you might have to ask, they tend to be in odd spots. Once you’ve soaked your dried chilies in boiling water until soft, you can blacken them the same way you do with the fresh vegetables. I just held mine with tongs over the gas flame on my stove top, they blacken instantly.
The world of chiles and peppers is a complex one, and my advice is, don’t get too hung up on which exact one you use ~ go with what you can get your hands on. Be adventurous, the results will be great.
Hatch chiles are the famous New Mexican variety with a cult following.
I’ve used them before in my Slow Cooked hatch Pepper Chili and my Cheesy Hatch Green Chile Dip. Fresh hatch chile season runs from August through the end of September, but even if you miss that you can buy them in cans, or better yet, frozen for use all year long.
This salsa negra got rave reviews from friends and family, but more importantly, I love it, and it’s going into my personal recipe hall of fame, and I’ll be making it over and over again.
tips for making fire roasted salsa
- One interesting thing about making this salsa negra is that because you’re going to be roasting them, you want to start with relatively hard tomatoes, you can save the ripe ones for your salads.
- Don’t be shy about blackening your veggies, that’s where all the flavor comes from.
- If you want a milder fire roasted effect, you can peel the vegetables after blackening. Just cover them with plastic and let them sit until cool enough to handle. The skins can be removed easily.
Fire Roasted Salsa Negra (black salsa)
- 4-5 dried red Hatch or other large red chile peppers
- 2 pounds firm red tomatoes
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 2 fresh pasilla chile peppers about 10 ounces (substitute poblano if you can’t find them)
- 1 medium red onion peeled and rough chopped
- 4 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- fresh cilantro leaves
- Cover the dried chiles with boiling water and let soak for 30 minutes. Make sure they are covered by the water.
- While the chiles soak, turn your broiler on high, and set the rack at the highest setting. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the tomatoes on it. Broil for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the tomatoes are blackened all over. Set aside.
- Do the same with the pasilla and jalapeno peppers, leave them whole, don’t chop. When they are blackened all over, remove and set aside.
- Repeat the procedure with the soaked peppers.
- Put the onion and the garlic in the food processor and pulse until finely minced. Turn into a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, spices, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce.
- Chop the blackened tomatoes in quarters, and puree, in the food processor, working in batches if necessary. Add the puree to the bowl with the onions and spices.
- Remove and discard the stems from all the peppers and chop them in half. Puree them in the processor, and then add to the bowl. Note: I did not remove the seeds from the peppers.
- Add the olive oil to the bowl and blend everything together. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, or until ready to serve. Be sure to taste the salsa prior to serving to adjust any of the seasonings. Note, this is a relatively thick salsa.
notes and variations
- I garnished with cilantro, but didn’t put any in the salsa, feel free to puree a handful in if you like.
- This Salsa Negra would make a great sauce for grilled chicken, or on tacos.