Fire Roasted Salsa Negra ~ this 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!
Reader Rave ~
“I have made at least two dozen different recipes for roasted salsa, I’ve talked to waiters and chefs trying to get it right… and this is the closest I’ve come to restaurant quality roasted salsa! Thank you so much!” ~ Malia
I don’t know about you, but for me the last few weeks of summer are always tinged with a little bit of regret for all the things I meant to do but didn’t get around to, and the shortening days, the early back-to-schoolers, and those annoying displays of Halloween candy just serve to rub it in. I’ve had this Mexican black salsa on my to do list all season, and I’m so glad I managed to fit it in this week, it’s amazing. 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!
So many 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.
TIP: 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.
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.
TIP: You can roast your peppers under the broiler, over a charcoal grill, or right on your gas stove top. Use caution when blackening peppers over an open flame, they can easily catch fire. I like to use a long pair of tongs to hold them securely and safely. The tomatoes are best done under the broiler.
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.
I can’t say this is a pretty salsa, but somehow, after your first bite, that doesn’t seem to matter too much! 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.
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.
Make this salsa negra your own ~
- 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.