Charred Tomato and Onion Salsa

Menu PartAppetizer/Small Plate
Cuisine TypeMexican
Charred Tomato and Onion Salsa

Jorge de la Torre

Dean of Culinary Education

Johnson & Wales University


A riff on salsa is always welcome at a tailgate, especially when it comes with plenty of chips. Jorge de la Torre of Johnson & Wales pumped up the mix by charring tomatoes, onion and garlic before combining with cumin seed, chipotles and smoked paprika. The result is a salsa with layers of smoky, spicy and tart flavors.


1 lb. tomatoes, unpeeled and cut in half

2 large yellow onions, each cut into 3 to 4 thick slices

2 garlic cloves

½ tsp. cumin seed

1 whole chipotle chile in adobo sauce (reserve 1 tbsp. sauce)

1 tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. smoked paprika

½ tsp. kosher salt

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

1½ tsp. fresh lime juice



1. Preheat the broiler to high. Arrange tomatoes, onion and garlic on rimmed baking sheet. Broil until charred on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn vegetables, add cumin seed and char on second side about 2 minutes longer; let cool. (Do not peel the tomatoes; save any juices that are released.)

2. In blender, puree charred tomatoes and their juices, onion, garlic and cumin seed. Add chipotle chile, adobo sauce, oregano, smoked paprika and salt. Blend until smooth.

3. Cool mixture to room temperature. Stir in cilantro and lime juice; adjust seasoning. Serve at room temperature.

Photo courtesy of the National Onion Association

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