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Casa de Valdez's Salsa Fresca, Reproduction Attempt

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Casa de Valdez's Salsa Fresca,  Reproduction Attempt
8 cups Easy
Total: Active:
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Ingredients (10)

  • 6 cups ripe, fresh, red tomatoes, seeded
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves (without stems, but before chopping), chopped
  • 3 tablespoons crushed fresh garlic (7-10 cloves)
  • 2-3 serranos, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 (or more), tablespoons salt
  • 6 limes, juiced, or juice of 6 average sized limes
  • 1/2 cup Vidalia, sweet onion, chopped fine
  • Brown sugar (optional)

This is my attempt to reproduce a heavenly salsa that was served by the Casa de Valdez (RIP), an outstanding New Mexican restaurant that was in Rancho de Taos, NM for many years. I have discovered that the location is now called Tequila’s. I don’t know whether anything is still the same.
Like other restaurants, they would not share their secret ingredient to the salsa.
There is lots of garlic and lime in this salsa. It should not be particularly hot or sweet.
No cooking allowed!


  1. 1Chop everything medium to fine. Reason: You don’t want the blender to do too much of the work. You don’t want this salsa to be too finely blended or too homogeneous. You want a little texture! You can always run the blender more! If you start out too big, some things will get pulverized while others will not.
  2. 2For exceptional taste, toast cumin seeds and grind or crush to make your own powder.
  3. 3Put some lime juice in the blender; just enough to allow the blender to work. Add the garlic and serrano and grind them up a bit, where there are no large chunks or big pieces.
  4. 4Add everything else but the cilantro and blend gently to the tomato chunkiness you like. Then add the chopped cilantro and mix in. They are already chopped; don’t blend them smaller. Again, you don’t want them or anything finely pureed.
    Taste. Adjust salt. Add sugar (if needed), so it isn’t too tart. This may happen with some acidic tomatoes. Let it sit a while and let the flavors meld.
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