If you can get your hands on one, the use of a molcajete lends a unique, slightly chunky texture that a blender or any other mechanized kitchen tool just can't deliver. Fire-Roasted Tomato, Onion and Serrano Salsa: This recipe exudes simplicity, because it's all about the method, which is practically primal, but requires a certain amount of finesse. Cooking directly on the coals imparts a different layer of flavor than straight grilling. You'll find it brings the sugars forward while caramelizing the onions and tomatoes, yet it also intensifies the spiciness of the serranos. "Se amargan si se queman," as my abuelo would always say -- "they're bitter if they burn," so watch carefully as you cook to blacken and caramelize the vegetables, but not fully char or burn them. I like to serve this dish with fajitas so that I can cook all the ingredients on the same fire, but it's great simply served with chips or as a topping for a favorite dish. Pico de Gallo: There are countless interpretations and variations of this condiment. From habaneros to mangoes, the ingredients can be from one's region or given a twist with types of fruit. This version is great with fajitas or for any grilled item because it is sweet, sour and spicy.
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