I was sent a jar of Gran Luchito recently and the first thing I thought of was to incorporate this smokey Mexican chilli paste into a table salsa to eat with tortilla chips. Those jars of ‘mild’ and ‘hot’ salsa they sell at the supermarket are absolutely awful (the majority seem to be much too sweet) and homemade is just so much better.

A Smokey Salsa

This is what I came up with – a recipe involving tomatoes, onion and garlic all charred on the stove. What fantastic flavour it had! Smokey yet fresh and just perfect as part of an afternoon snack. We demolished one batch along with half a bag of tortilla chips and next time I’m going to double it. Or perhaps I’ll put some on a taco or in a burrito. Of course, you don’t have to use the chilli paste – you could toss in a couple of your own roasted chillies instead.

Snack time

A Smokey Salsa

2 large tomatoes, washed but unpeeled
1/2 a medium sized onion, unpeeled
1 clove garlic, unpeeled
1 spring onion, trimmed
1 tsp Luchito chilli paste or 1-2 jalapenos
1 lime
fresh coriander, finely chopped

Heat a heavy frying pan over high heat and lay in the tomatoes, onion, garlic clove, spring onion and jalapenos (if using), turning occasionally until blackened and blistered on as many sides as you can achieve. Take out the ingredients when blackened and leave to cool – the timings will obviously be different for each ingredient. For the tomatoes, onion and garlic clove, peel off the blackened skins and then chop the flesh roughly. Toss it all into a food processor or, as in my case, a mini chopper. Add the spring onion, roughly chopped, and also the chilli paste, or the grilled jalapeno (peeled). Pulse until just blended. Add salt, lime juice and fresh coriander to taste, stirring it all in well. Serve.

I’ve grown quite fond of the Gran Luchito paste. It’s also great on its own or stirred into a pasta sauce or spread on a sandwich. I’ve been adding it to lots of things. It’s very good stuff with a good heat and great smokey flavour.