by Caroline

Really, this is Tony’s post, as he is the only one in our family who will enjoy something in a restaurant and then try to recreate it at home. He’s done it with Eos’ shitake mushroom dumplings, Jackson Filmore’s gnocchi with chard in lemon broth, and now taqueria Papalote’s delicious salsa. His is a simplified version of this recipe, and it was such a hit at our recent dinner party that I don’t have a picture!

Tony writes, “I use canned, fire-roasted tomatoes, because it’s so much faster and the difference is hard to notice. It also means I can make the salsa year-round. I also forgo the dried chiles, and just use two different kinds of chile powder. Simpler and faster. You could certainly substitute different kinds of chile powder to good effect. I also added the onion and garlic to give it a little more sweetness and overall richness. I’m definitely not trying to copy Papalote at this point… I’d just call it an homage!”

1 15 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes (Muir Glen and Trader Joes both make them)
[Or you can simply halve some roma tomatoes and put them
under the broiler for 7-8 minutes until slightly blackened.] 1 small onion
4-5 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried ancho chile powder
1 tsp dried pasilla chile powder
4 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup cilantro
2 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup water

Coarsely chop the onion into big chunks. Leave the garlic cloves unpeeled. Pan roast the onions and garlic with no oil for 7-8 minutes until they are slightly blackened. (You could also do this under a broiler or on the grill) … you’re just trying to get a little color and roasted/charred flavor.

Peel the garlic and transfer onions and garlic to a saucepan with the tomatoes, dried chile powders, sugar, salt, and water. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. If it feels too thick feel free to add a little more water.

Add the vinegar and cook for one minute more.

Let cool a bit. (Or not, if you’re impatient like me!)

Transfer tomato mixture to a blender. Add the pumpkin seeds and cilantro. Blend until smooth.