The Hippo


Oct 20, 2019









Courtesy of Corey Mitchell of Mitchell’s Fresh. Yields about 3 pounds of salsa.
2 pounds roma or plum tomatoes
½ yellow onion
½ teaspoon fresh habanero, chopped
½ cup cider vinegar
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to season
Chop ingredients and mix together. If there is too much heat, add more tomatoes. If it’s not hot enough, add more habanero pepper. Mix with cream cheese to make a dip, and serve with Mitchell’s Fresh tortilla strips.

Salsa season
From mild to “melt your face off”


Margaritas Mexican Restaurants use about 20,000 to 24,000 pounds of tomatoes a month, and the bulk of it is for salsa.
“We go through quite a few gallons of salsa a week as a restaurant company. I wouldn’t even try to guess that number,” Director of Culinary Operations Patrick Provost said. “We take painstaking steps to make sure the product is to our standard, that the recipe is followed and that we’re making it multiple times a day.”
Salsa is one of those prepared foods that has so many variables, which is why no two salsa recipes are created equal. Provost said using fresh ingredients and serving it right away make all the difference regardless of what kind.
“There’s so many different types of salsa, from the mild to the melt-your-face-off types of salsa,” Provost said. “There’s mango salsa, there’s black bean salsa, and variations of the salsa.”
There are only a few core ingredients to make a salsa fresca: Roma tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, lime juice, oil and onions. And while there are a wide variety of salsas, the core to any salsa recipe is the tomato.
“It complements the flavors we have on the plate. It has the tones of the garlic in it, and you get a little bit of heat from the jalapenos in there,” Provost said. “You can definitely tell by the color of it, the freshness of the ingredients in there, and when you taste it, it overwhelms you and it kind of wakes you up. … If there’s a little bit of heat to it, that kind of adds to the excitement of the salsa.”
Native New Hampshire tomatoes are in season now. Kristine Mossey of McLeod Brothers Orchard recommends Roma tomatoes for salsa, because they’re meatier and have fewer seeds, but she said whatever your favorite tomato is will work.
“I would go with [big] flavor with a salsa,” she said. “I think they have more flavor [in New Hampshire] because we pick them ripe. Most of the time when you’re getting a tomato from the grocery store it’s been picked underripe to ship it, because tomatoes will ripen on their own after you pick them off the vine.”
Corey Mitchell, owner of Mitchell’s Fresh, recommends getting creative with your salsa recipe and making it your own.
“We like tangy, a good acid or a good vinegar,” he said. “Mostly what we focus on is getting good produce, getting a good red tomato that’s not too soft.”
While tomatoes are the core ingredient to a salsa, the heat is just as important. Mitchell uses fresh habanero and jalapeno peppers.
“We have a salsa called This Will Burn Your Mouth,” Mitchell said. “We have to have it, because there are people that want it that hot.”
Although Mitchell’s Fresh has mild, medium and hot salsas, Mitchell said that medium is the most popular seller.
“Most people know salsa as a jarred, shelf-stable product, but more people are getting into fresh [salsa],” Mitchell said. “Look for something local. Look for something that looks like you’ve made it at home. … I think salsa should look like cut-up tomatoes, not spaghetti sauce.”
And salsa isn’t just limited to Mexican food. Mitchell said he’s used salsa on top of fish and even to make a type of ceviche. But pairing salsa with tortilla chips is just classic.
“Using fresh salsa in nachos I think gives it a better flavor than jarred salsa,” Mitchell said. “You mix cream cheese with salsa and you can make a great dip.” 

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