This recipe is adapted from one that appears in Matt Martinez’s Culinary Frontier: A Real Texas Cookbook by Matt Martinez Jr. and Steve Pate (Doubleday, 1997). It’s great with chips, but it’s heavenly with barbecue, steaks, and scrambled eggs. If you don’t have a smoker, a barbecue pit will do.
3 whole medium tomatoes
1/2 medium sweet white onion, cut in chunks
3 whole jalapeños or 6 whole serranos (use the latter for a hotter salsa)
3 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp. salt, or to taste 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 c. water
Combine ingredients in a heavy pot, and place the pot (uncovered) in a smoker for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the vegetables are soft. (Do not allow the sauce to become dry; add more water if needed.) Remove pot from smoker. Mash (do not blend) the vegetables, taking care to mash one chili at a time until salsa tastes hot enough; discard any extra chilies. (Salsa will be chunky.) Adjust the salt to taste. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator (will keep about 2 weeks). Yield: 2 cups. Note: For a thicker salsa, combine 1 T. cornstarch with 2 T. water, and drizzle the mixture into the salsa while it’s still hot. Simmer on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes until salsa reaches the desired thickness. If it becomes too thick, simply add a bit more water.
From the March 1998 issue.