salsa, like all others, begins with charring the skin of the chiles,
then placing them in a sack -- paper or plastic -- until they are cool
enough to handle to remove the skin.
A couple of tomatoes are charred to loosen their skin, except when she
has a pot of boiling water, then Doņa Martha may drop the
tomatoes into the water for a few seconds as on this day when she was
making Caldo de Res.
When the chiles and tomatoes
are ready, she begins by grinding three cloves of garlic in the molcajete.
When she began to add the chiles, she realized that she had more than
could be ground in her small one, so she moved everything into her large
restaurant size molcajete.
When the chiles were well mashed, she ground in the tomatoes and then
stirred in the salt.
Doņa Martha uses this basic
recipe to make a variety of table salsas with different chiles.
Sometimes she adds finely minced onion. And sometimes a small
amount of avocado. Adding a little avocado does not turn the salsa
into guacamole; it just adds another layer of flavor.
If tomatillos are to
be used, she will use her blender rather than a molcajete.
See Salsa Casera.