Grilled Salsa Roja, The Salsa Cinco De Mayo Deserves

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Sure, you could go buy a salsa in a can for Cinco de Mayo. You could pop it open, watch it gloop into a bowl and serve it to your guests with a half-smile. Or you could blow their socks off. With only 15 extra minutes, you can make smokey salsa with heat and depth. Don’t worry about leftovers, there won’t be any.

  • 8 plum tomatoes, cored
  • ½ medium white onion
  • 4 serrano chiles (or less, if you don’t want as much heat)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup (packed) cilantro leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Grill tomatoes, onion, and chiles over high heat, turning periodically, until lightly charred– about 4 minutes for chiles and 6–8 minutes for tomatoes and onion. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  2. Purée tomatoes, onion, chiles, garlic, and cilantro in a blender until mostly smooth and only small pieces remain; season with salt and pepper to taste.