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Chipotle Salsa

In the language of the Aztecs, chil refers to chili and pochilli to smoke; what we know as a chipotle is a smoked chili, most often a jalapeño. It was the Aztecs who first began to smoke chilies; theirs was a humid climate, and the skins of many of their chilies were thick and very difficult to dry without fire and smoke. How fortuitous for the rest of us! Chipotles have a complexity that goes beyond fire and smoke; they can have hints of spices, chocolate, caramel, and even fruit. Chipotles always have a pronounced effect on other foods; they can really grab your attention in a salsa. This fabulous one is like a cold, chunky tomato sauce with a haunting difference. It is absolute magic on grilled meats and fish. If you'd like it thicker, simply strain out some of the liquid. Makes about 2 cups

SKU 1284-Recipe


  • 2 pounds (about 6 medium) ripe tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 1 cup minced sweet white onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 minced chipotle from canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (optional; see note)


  1. Preheat a grill, broiler, or ridged grill pan. Place the tomatoes on an oiled grill rack over glowing coals, on a broiler pan, or on a ridged grill pan over high heat. Grill or broil (broil as close to the heat as possible), turning as necessary, until skins are blackened in spots and slightly softened, about 5 minutes on each side (slightly less time in the broiler). Remove.
  2. 2. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop them, place in a bowl, and stir in remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Note: Using the cilantro adds a familiar Mexican note, and not an unwelcome one. But it will lessen the impact of the smoked chili flavor in the salsa. Your move.