Salsa de Molcajete With Cherry Tomatoes

This was my first time preparing Salsa de Molcajete. The molcajete is a Mexican mortar made of volcanic rock and shaped into a bowl with legs. These days you can purchase a molcajete already seasoned and ready to use. It takes a little effort, but yields a very rustic, authentic and traditional Mexican salsa.

Yields about 2 cups


4 Roma tomatoes
4 tomatillos
6 to 8 cherry or grape tomatoes
4 serrano chiles
3 cloves of garlic (skins on)
1 small white onion, cut into quarters
Juice of 1 key lime
Canola oil
Cilantro (optional)

Salsa de Molcajete

Salsa de Molcajete
On this day I had a few cherry tomatoes left, so I added them in while I was roasting the other ingredients.


1. Heat a cast-iron pan or heavy griddle pan to medium heat. Add all of the vegetables, minus the lime and cilantro. Drizzle with a bit of oil. Cook until the veggies start to brown, turning as needed. The onions and garlic will be ready after about 10 to 15 minutes, remove and set aside.
2. Once the rest of veggies are done, remove from heat and let them cool slightly. Start by peeling the skins off of the garlic. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 garlic clove, 1 serrano pepper and 2 tomatoes. Use the stone to grind the chile and garlic into the salt and work the tomatoes in carefully. Gradually add in the rest of the ingredients a little at time.
3. If you need to, take some of the salsa out and transfer it to a bowl while you prepare the rest of the salsa. Stir well and taste for salt, add a little lime juice.

To season and polish an untreated molcajete, you could add some uncooked rice and use the pestle to work it in to all of the sides. It takes time and you will change out the rice a few times. Once the inside feels smooth and free of any lose rock, you can wash it and use it for preparing salsas and grinding spices.

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