Smoked Salsa

Recipe 10 minPreparation Time 2 hrsCooking Time
Smoked Salsa

Smoked Salsa

10 minPreparation Time 2 hrs Cooking Time

About this Recipe

I came up with this salsa years ago, and among my friends and family it remains the most popular thing I make — by a long shot. If you can get Blue Beech tomatoes, they’re fantastic; their skins and seeds aren’t bitter at all. Besides being a terrific salsa, a jar of this elixir is a ready-made base for a pot of chili, curry, or shakshuka, a sauce for enchiladas, or a flavor booster to all manner of stews and sauces. If you don’t have a smoker, you can grill the tomatoes. Be aware that the cooking time will be a lot shorter, and you’ll have to stay on top of them so they don’t fall apart.

The Benefits

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, and the deep, smoky flavor of this sauce will have you reaching for it regularly.

Equipment: smoker or grill, food mill


Makes about 2 pints
  • 2 lbs (900 g) plum tomatoes, preferably Blue Beech
  • 3 jalapeños
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp (3½ g) coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Step 1
    Light the smoker, making a modest fire with charcoal, using hardwood, fruit, or hickory wood for your smoke. Cut the stems off the peppers and trim any spots off the tomatoes, then halve them all lengthwise. Arrange the tomatoes and peppers on the grill, cut side up, and let them smoke until the tops of the tomatoes are starting to take on a little smoky color. This could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the heat of your fire and the configuration of your smoker.
  2. Step 2
    Put the tomatoes and jalapeños into a large stock pot. Add the onion, vinegar, coriander seeds, and salt and bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring regularly to prevent sticking, until everything is soft, about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and use an immersion blender to purée the salsa.
  3. Step 3
    Ladle the salsa into a food mill and run it through into a bowl (alternatively, continue to blend well). Is it thick, or still kind of watery? If you want it to be thicker, put it back on medium heat to reduce a bit. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed, and then let cool. This will keep, lidded, in the fridge for several weeks.

Substitutions: Any hot chiles work in place of jalapeños, and many spices can replace or complement the coriander

Try It With: Many, many Mexican, Middle Eastern, and South Asian dishes

Zero Waste: Dehydrate the skins and seeds from the food mill and then grind them to make a fantastic smoky chile-tomato powder

READ: Practice | Where There's Smoke, There's Dinner