Salsa Charro
(Black Salsa)

For Roasting:
2-3 lbs Roma tomatoes
6-12 fresh jalapeno peppers
2 bunches garlic

Other Ingredients
Salt, to taste

Roma tomatoes work best for this recipe. Cut and seeded, they have much more body and density than regular tomatoes. Their flat sides lend themselves to even cooking. You can use regular tomatoes, but they will not blacken as nicely and they may wilt to unmanageability on the grill.

Wash and rinse the veggies well, as always.

Cut and seed the tomatoes into quarters.

Wrap each bunch of garlic in a sheet of foil, trying to keep a pretty even covering of foil all around rather than a thin covering on one side and a big wad of foil on the other. Once again, even cooking is our goal.

Fire up the grill. OK, so I already know that those of you who don't find cooking to be a grand adventure are shaking your heads. Too long, too much work! Well, that's why it's so good!

I tried to make this stuff in the oven broiler, but it just paled in comparison to the flavor you get on the grill.

When the coals are all going gray and putting out good heat, plop your jalapenos and garlic on the grill.

You're shooting for blackened skin, which will make it easy to peel, and flesh that's cooked, but not burnt. The pepper flesh is quite moist and won't burn easily, so you can let it get pretty black on the outside, but be careful, because you can burn them if you leave them on too long. If your tongs can feel the flesh starting to wilt under the blackened skin, they've probably been in too long. I like to pull them out while they're still firm.

You want them black ALL over, any green spots left will be hard to peel.

Pull the jalapenos off and drop them in a ziploc bag to steam. The garlic is typically not done yet so I leave it on while I cook the tomatoes too, usually on a cooler side of the grill, but still getting constant heat.

Drop the tomato slices in flesh side down first. This side can take a fair amount of cooking. Keep an eye on them. You actually want these to get good and blackened as well.

Note: keep rolling the garlic around on the grill so that all sides get evenly exposed to heat. I prop them up against the sides of the grill to help keep it from falling over.

You only want to flip the tomatoes once, so you want this side to get good and black before you flip. Once you flip, the tomato is partially cooked and has lost some firmness, so having the the skin side down for the final bit of cooking will help the peices keep their shape and keep them from sticking to the grill.

This is what you're looking for: seriously. Regular tomatoes won't blacken like this, so do your best if that's what you're using. The trick is to char them and pull them off before the tomato flesh completely breaks down and dribbles down through the grill into your charcoal.

When they're done, that is pretty much blackened all over but just as they start getting really limp and losing their shape, toss 'em in a bowl. Grab the garlic too.

Now you have your bag of jalapenos, your roasted garlic, and your roasted tomatoes.

Peel the jalapenos under running water, and then halve and seed them, getting as much of the membrane as you can.

Now, toss everybody into the food processor.

I'm a pretty much "to taste" cook, so I can't really tell you what the ration of tomatoes to garlic to peppers is, I do it differently every time. Depends on the strength and freshness of everything. I tend to start conservatively, and then add more peppers and garlic slowly so I don't overdo it.

This is when you add the salt. To taste.

Chop it up so it's chunky, no need to puree it.