Roasted Tomato-Arbol Chile Salsa

Salsa de Jitomate y Chile de Arbol
From Season 8  Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 11/2 cups


  • 12 dried arbol chiles, stemmed
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 12ounces (4 to 6 plum or 2 medium-small round) red-ripe tomatoes
  • Salt


Toast the chiles in a small (8-inch) skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until they’re aromatic and have darkened slightly, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Transfer them to a blender. In the same skillet, roast the garlic, turning regularly, until soft and blotchy-black in places, about 15 minutes. Cool, slip off the papery skin and add them to the blender jar.

Roast the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until splotchy black and soft, about 6 minutes. Flip them and roast the other side. Cool and add to the blender with the chiles and garlic and process completely smooth. Scrape into a serving dish and stir in enough water to give a spoonable consistency, usually 1/4 cup. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon. Refrigerated, the salsa will keep for several days.


  1. I do a great variation of this, you should try it: Basically roast 1/2 a white onion and add it to the blender with the rest of ingredients with some water, enough water so you can fry it with some olive oil and then simmer for an hour or two until the sauce thickens quite a bit and turns a gorgeous dark red color. Trust me, it’s even more AWESOME. Source: Mexican addicted to salsas and living in Mexico City 😀

    1. I know you’ve got it right. I sensed a depth/complexity of flavor. The oil adds consistency/homogeneity of flavor, the onion adds clean texture. Thanx, Roy

  2. This is a delicious recipe that comes together without much effort. On the last batch I put together I added a tsp of toasted sesame seeds and a quarter cup of toasted almonds and then pureed everything. It was quite tasty. Hope I didn’t offend Rick or his devotees by tweeking his recipe.

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