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This sauce, or “salsa” as it is called in Spanish, is a staple in my grandma’s Spanish Moroccan cooking. It is a somewhat sweet, super concentrated tomato sauce that adds a flavorful punch as the base for dishes.

The most common way to eat this healthy sauce in my house is to spread some cold sauce on a slice of bread and enjoy the instant tomato party in your mouth! But this sauce can also be used as the base for cooking other dishes. For breakfast, this can be used as a base for Israeli shakshuka (eggs poached in tomato sauce). It can also be added to a pasta like a regular tomato sauce, or — if you want to do it like my family — throw some in a pot with lots of olive oil and garlic and slow cook a fillet of salmon or some turkey meat-balls.

Traditionally, this is made with red bell peppers (not poblano) so that the sauce is sweeter and completely red. I added poblanos for a bit of a twist. Also, if you’d like to make this recipe faster, you can substitute two cans of diced tomatoes instead of the fresh ones.

Ingredients: makes 1 to 2 cups

10-12 roma tomatoes (make sure they are not very hard, softer is better here)
2 poblano peppers or sweet red bell peppers
boiling water
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

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Wash tomatoes and cut a small (about 1 inch) X in the ends with a sharp pairing knife. Then place tomatoes in a large bowl of boiling water so that the tomatoes are covered, and let sit for about 20 minutes or until the skin starts to come off.

After the 20 minutes have passed, carefully remove the tomatoes from the hot water and slowly peel off the skins (starting from the Xs). If the skin does not easily come off, soak for more time in the hot water. Once tomatoes are peeled, cut them crosswise and squeeze out the seeds. Discard this wet, seedy part — you want only the ‘meat’ of the tomato. Cut your tomatoes into quarters and pulse them in the food processor until they are a chunky sauce (if you don’t have a food processor you can just dice them instead). Dice your peppers separately.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat and saute peppers in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 5 minutes or until peppers are soft. Lower the heat to medium-low and add another tablespoon olive oil as well as the diced tomatoes. Stirring occasionally, simmer your tomato and pepper mixture for about 30 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated.

Mince your garlic and stir it into the sauce as well as the sugar, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and refrigerate until ready to use.

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