Friday, March 12, 2010

As close as it gets to El Compadre's salsa

Our family LOVES the salsa served at El Compadre's in Mitchell.  A year or so ago, Toby asked for the recipe.  Miguel, our waiter, told Toby they'd kill him if told - haha!  Apparently, as I suspected, the recipe is a closely guarded secret.  At this point Toby decided "we" should figure out how to make it simple by taste. 

(Photo is not of actual salsa made with this recipe, but it looks similar :) 

I need to stop here & provide you with 2 important facts about Toby and I.  First of all, Toby DOES NOT cook.  He never has, he most likely never will & it's best for everyone (and all my kitchen appliances, cookware, & utensils) if does not attempt any form of cooking.  One of Liv's favorite "tattletale" stories about Toby is the time he asked her (she was maybe 5 or 6 yrs. old) how long he should put his Pop-Tart in the microwave.  Their conversation went something like this:

Papa:  Liv, how long should I put this Pop-Tart in the microwave for?  Like 2 minutes?
Liv:  Uh, NOOOOO!!!  Not if you want anything left of it.  Maybe 15 sec, Papa.

Yeah, see what I mean, it's best if he stays out of the kitchen.  Which means the "we" in his suggestion actually just means I should figure it out.  This brings me to important fact #2.

I am not a from scratch, create-my-own-recipe kind of gal.  I like working from a recipe & I'm happy to tweek a recipe according to our tastes, but I unfortunately was not blessed with a palate that can differentiate what ingredients are in a dish I'm eating.  So for the salsa, about all I knew was it had tomatoes & cilantro in it.  

Anyway, back to my recipe for today, Toby badgered me until I finally starting trying to figure out their secret.  My first salsa came out looking brownish green.  It's OK if you feel the need to wrinkle your nose & gag a little  - we all did.  Tossed that one.  My next one came out the right color, but the taste was completely off. 

4 or 5 nasty batches later, I came across a website for authentic Mexican restaurant style salsa.  I had been telling Toby all along that I thought he was making it too complicated (he kept suggesting it needed this ingredient or that ingredient).  I knew it had to be something simple that they could make large amounts of quickly & cheaply.  This recipe sounded like just the thing.

Three things about this recipe stood out to me:  

1.  It uses canned tomatoes - not fresh ones.

2.  It uses canned, pickled jalapenos - not fresh. 

3.  When using cilantro - you apparently don't use the stalk part - just the leaves.  I didn't know that. 

This recipe is the closest we've ever had to El Compadres'.  It's still not a perfect match, but it's close enough Toby quit hollering for me to figure it out. I usually make a double batch in my food processor as it keeps well in the fridge. 

As Close As It Gets To El Compadres' Salsa


1 28 oz. can of crushed or diced tomatoes (I use Kroger Brand canned, diced tomatoes.  You can use your favorite brand, but beware not all brands are created equally & some generic brands can change the flavor A LOT). 
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
10+ pickled jalapeno rings (you can add more or less to get the heat your family likes - I use approx. 2 TBSP of the diced, pickled jalapenos instead of the rings)
10+ leafs of cilantro


Food process everything
Check hotness & saltiness - add more of what ever you need to make it to your family's taste

Your done! ENJOY!!! 

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