SALSA RANCHERA (Mexican cooked red tomato sauce, ½ cup)
1 tomato (about ½ pound), broiled
1 or 2 chiles serranos, toasted
½ clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon peanut or safflower oil
a thick slice of onion, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
1. Line a shallow metal pan with foil and put the tomato in it. Place it under a hot broiler – do not have the flame too high or the tomato will burn without cooking through – and then turn it from time to time so that it cooks evenly – the skin will be blistered and charred. A medium tomato will take about 20 minutes. In a blender, process the tomato, skin, core and seeds, to a fairly smooth sauce.
2. Toast the chiles by placing them on a warm comal or griddle and turning them from time to time until the skin is charred and the flesh soft. Blend the tomato, chiles and garlic together to a fairly smooth sauce. Do not overblend.
3. Heat the oil and cook the onion, without browning, until it is soft. Add the blended ingredients and cook the sauce over a brisk flame for about 5 minutes, until it reduces and thickens a little. This sauce is most commonly used for huevos rancheros, but it is also good on shredded meat in tacos. It keeps well and freezes successfully.
Diana Kennedy, The Cuisines of Mexico