Charred red salsa

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Charred red salsa

One thing led to another and my wife and I made the best salsa we've ever had using it in a version of huevos rancheros we had for breakfast today. 

Earlier in the week, I had cooked up a big clay pot of red Appaloosa beans from New Mexico.  They were first used in a bean, corn, and kabocha squash stew (excellent). 

Thinking about what to do for breakfast using some more of the beans led to a bean book, a huevos recipe, and then a recipe for the salsa to go with the huevos. 

I've roasted tomatoes before for salsa but never roasted the other ingredients and not the tomatoes.  This salsa is very easy to make and really, really tasty.

Servings: 2 1/2 cups


  • 4 slices red onion between 1/4 and 1/2— don’t bother measuring
  • 4 to 5 big garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 to 4 serrano peppers or in combination with small jalapeño peppers
  • 28 oz can no added sodium whole plum tomatoes
  • Heaping 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onions, peppers, and garlic.  Cook them until charred to some degree on all sides. 
  2. The garlic may take a little longer.  I’ve never charred garlic like this in a skillet before and have only roasted it using a method which always has seemed a little tedious — coat in olive oil, wrap in foil, roast for 45 minutes taking up only a tiny space in your big oven, wasting energy, etc. 
  3. Charring the garlic in the skillet took only a few minutes.  After the cloves cooled a bit I peeled them first cutting off the stem end.  The soft but not squishy garlic was charred also right underneath the charred part of the peel.  The cloves were perfect.
  4. Remove the stems from the peppers, slice them in half lengthwise and remove the seeds if you wish.  There’s a lot of extra heat in the seeds and ribs.  You could start with two seeded peppers, sample for heat, and add more peppers as you wish.
  5. Add the onions, peppers, peeled garlic cloves, tomatoes, cilantro and lime juice to a food processor.  Pulse a few times until you have a “salsa” consistency.  Add more peppers, salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 48
  • Total fat: 0 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Trans fat: 0 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 12 mg
  • Dietary fiber: 2 mg
  • Sodium: 18 mg
  • Protein: 2 mg