Charred Tomato and Mint Salsa

This salsa is a celebration of summer – feel free to use as many colors of tomato as you can find. Just be sure they are firm. This salsa is goes well with chips, meat, and fish. It is great on seared swordfish tacos.


2 large firm red tomatoes (about ½ pound)
2 large firm yellow tomatoes (about ½ pound)
1 small-medium brown onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 serrano chiles
1-2 cups mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 – 1 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Juice of 1 or 2 limes
Zest of 1 lime, minced


In a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, or under the broiler, cook the tomatoes to blacken the skin and give a roasted aroma. When done, set aside.*

Cut the onion in half through the equator, and place the cut side onto the pan bottom (or under the broiler) and cook until thoroughly blackened. Then flip the onion and continue to blacken the rest of the onion, with the skin still on.*

Optional-you can roast the chiles in the pan/under the broiler with the onion if you wish. It is a mood thing for me. The flavor of the unroasted serranos is a little more assertive, and the texture of the raw chiles lends a little spicy crunch.*

While the onion cooks, scrape off the skin from the tomatoes. It’s okay to have some of the charred bits still on. Slice the tomatoes through the equator and shake out the seeds. If needed, use the tip of a finger to get them out. Use a sharp knife to cut up the tomatoes into a medium dice.

When the onions are charred and cooled enough to handle, use the edge of a knife to scrape the char from the flat sides of the onion, then peel the onion and scrape away any large blackened bits. Cut the onion halves through the ends to arrive at four pieces, then dice the onion so the pieces are the same or smaller than the tomato. You should have around half the volume of the tomato.

Seed the chiles and mince. Scrape the skin off if you charred the chilies.

In a non-reactive bowl, mix the tomatoes, onions, chilies, and garlic. Add the lime juice and toss some more. Add in the zests and toss to mix well. Add an optional pinch of kosher salt, toss, and then add the herbs.

Taste for balance. You might need a little more juice.

An optional method is to place the tomatoes and onions in coarse chunks into a food processor with everything else minced and pulse a few times to get the desired consistency.

*If you have the grill fired up, do the tomatoes, onions, and chilies on the grill. Be careful to only char the skin of the tomatoes, not to cook them over the intense heat of the grill flame. This is a charred for flavor salsa, not a cooked salsa.

YIELD: About 3 cups

SOURCE: Chef Andrew Cohen

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