Zero-Mile Salsa

Zero-mile means that the produce used in this recipe has travelled just a few steps, from my backyard to the kitchen.  A few of my early posts covered the four most basic Mexican salsas, redolent of tradition in the Mexican kitchen: a la Mexicana, green, red and guacamole.  For this salsa, since I am using ingredients just harvested in my garden beds, I decided to combine elements from my raw green salsa and cooked red salsa with tomatoes recipes.  In this way, I could keep some ingredients raw to feature their freshness, while roasting others to bring out their aroma, and add an extra layer of flavour from the charred components. I also decided to leave salt out, to preserve the salsa from any substance alien to my backyard, but of course it may (and should) be added later, to taste.

Zero-Mile Salsa – Salsa sin kilometraje

Printable recipe: Zero Mile Salsa


1 cup fresh tomatillos, husks removed
1 ½ cups assorted tomatoes + one extra for roasting
1 large onion, peeled and quartered (I had six very small onions)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 sprig cilantro
Fresh hot peppers, to taste (I used one serrano and four Black Hungarian)

Wash and dry veggies.  Layer the tomatillos, 1 ½ cups of tomatoes (I had black cherry and yellow pear), ¾ of the onion (I had 5 small ones), and the cilantro in the blender jar (below, left).  On a dry (no oil) iron skillet over medium heat, roast the extra tomato, ¼ onion (1 small from my garden), the garlic cloves, and the peppers, turning frequently and allowing some charring (right); this technique is called tatemar in Mexico:

The Black Hungarian peppers were blackening faster than the rest of the ingredients, so I put them on a plate and continued roasting (photo below, left), until everything had a nice charred exterior.  Once done, I let the ingredients rest to cool down a little, then I removed the stems from the tomato and the peppers (right):


I noticed the Black Hungarian peppers had turned a beautiful emerald green colour, and the aroma reminded me of poblano peppers.  The seeds were large and numerous for such small peppers (about the size of jalapeños), so I removed them, as well as a couple of the “veins” along the walls, to make them a tad milder.  I really liked their taste, somewhere between a poblano and a jalapeño:

Black Hungarian peppers, roasted

Zero-mile salsa


The tatemados went on top of the other veggies in the blender; I paused to appreciate the different colours and textures (photo at the top of the post), as well as to enjoy the scents.  I pulsed the salsa to have a better control of the blending process, allowing a few chunks to remain, so the salsa would not turn brown, but keep some speckles of red, charred black, green from the tomatillos, and yellow from the pear tomatoes.  This recipe yielded about two cups of deliciously fresh, yet fragrant salsa.


I poured it into a serving bowl to photograph with some tortilla chips, but my bagged chips looked so … store bought, not even a little special like stone ground, or from blue corn, so I just left the salsa by itself:

zero-mile salsa in clay bowl

Of course, this means that now I will have to figure out how to make the perfect tortilla chips to enjoy with this salsa, but that will be the subject of another post.  In addition to an appetizer with tortilla chips, this is an excellent salsa to top tacos, or to offer at the table to spice up steaks, chicken, rice, etc.

Personal opinion: This is the first time I grow Black Hungarian peppers.  I purchased the seed from West Coast Seeds; they are open pollinated, which means I could save seed for future crops, as needed. The seeds sprouted slowly but surely, and grew into healthy seedlings that adapted well to the soil.  The blooms have a pretty shade of purple, and give place to the dark peppers (wow, I just read at the West Coast Seeds site that they mature further from black to bright red!)  I harvested four, which I used up for this salsa, but I can see a few more growing on the two plants I have; I shall let them turn red and check out the flavour.

Joining Tummy Tuesday: Los Gatos, hosted by Mary @ Cactus Catz

29 thoughts on “Zero-Mile Salsa

    1. What varieties are you growing? My small peppers are doing great, but I have a Red Bull’s Horn sweet pepper plant and it is just starting to bloom; I hope it grows a few peppers before the weather gets cooler.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just jalapeño and poblano. The jalapeños are coming along well. The poblano plants are large, but so far only one pepper. Last year they produced really well.


      2. In Mexico, poblanos are at their peak in September, around Independence Day (Sept 16), and some people make “chiles en nogada” (stuffed peppers in walnut sauce sprinkled with pomegranate), really yummy.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m drooling…and wishing I had a veggie garden now instead of my flowers! The salsa looks grand – I’m a huge fan of Tostitos…so maybe I should make my own, I’ll watch for your post on chips!


    1. Hi, Shelley! I hope you have a farmer’s market nearby, although any fresh veggies will do in a pinch; I should be posting about the chips in a day or two 🙂


  2. Wow! I want to steal that bottle. It’s pretty awesome that everything came from your backyard.

    Do you have cactus? I saw a nopales chips at a Farmer’s Market here that tasted pretty good.


    1. Is it the bottle or the contents you seek? Farmer’s market produce should work beautifully with the recipe. Tip: the bottle is from a “Newman’s Own” pasta Alfredo sauce; I just washed it and the label came right off. I do not have cactus, I found paddles at one of the international markets in the area; I have never tried those chips, how intriguing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I keep my spaghetti bottles too but mine are Classico. The hard part is getting the tomato smell out but that would not be a problem with salsa. I will try it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the name! It’s really wonderful to be able to primarily use vegetables and herbs from the garden. This year has been slow because of not one but two late freezes. So I have lots of green tomatoes that just need to ripen!


    1. Thank you, Chef Mimi! I have the same situation with my cucumbers and (unheard of) my zucchini, although it was my fault because I was away when it was their planting time, so I started them late. I hope we both get enough time to harvest before the frosts come back!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My comment disappeared! In any case, I love the name of your salsa, and it is really lovely to walk from the garden with an armful of vegetables and herbs and creative goodness in the kitchen!


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