This month for our weekly TASTY TUESDAY column, we are joined by a local foodie who will need no introduction to most of you – Raph Rashid of Beatbox Kitchen and Taco Truck!  Raph is credited with bringing US-style food truck culture to Melbourne, a trend which shows no signs of slowing down!  At home, Raph is a no fuss kinda cook – he can make the most delicious meal from just a handful of simple, great quality ingredients.  Given his fondness for both Mexican food and a good burger, Raph is particularly adept at whipping up flavourful sauces and condiments to pair with any meat, fish or seafood.  This month he’ll share four of his favourite homemade condiments and salsas with us, kicking off today with a super simple, seriously tasty roast tomato and chilli salsa!

Raph Rashid’s punchy Salsa Roja with BBQ prawns and home cooked corn chips.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.

The perfect start to any party is walking into a big plate of chips and salsa. Whether it’s a backyard BBQ or a wedding with distant relatives, a good chip ‘n’ dip will get you settled, occupied and ready for a drink.

I am a sucker for chips – potato or corn, it doesn’t matter to me. I am always the guy thinking ‘damn this is the tenth time I have visited this chip bowl in the last 5 minutes’, while Beci pokes me and says under her breath ‘lay off the chips dude.’ Anyway, a good salsa will slow your roll a bit, and matched up with some grill prawns it will definitely hit the spot.

If there is one starter you make this summer make sure it’s a tomato salsa. This sauce is super versatile, it goes great with all sorts of dishes including tacos, seafood or even a pasta sauce.

Raph BBQ-ing prawns and roasting tomatoes for the salsa.  Photos – Sean Fennessy

Ingredients

1kg Roma tomatoes
1 habanero chilli
1 red onion
1 clove garlic
1 lime
1 tbsp white vinegar

Method

Preheat a woodfired oven/BBQ or regular oven to 180 degrees. Chop your tomatoes in half and onion in quarters, and roast in the oven for one hour.

Occasionally give the dish a bit of a shake. To handle your habanero I suggest wearing gloves, these chillis are no joke. Split your chilli in half, and if you like you salsa really hot use the whole thing – if you prefer it milder just go for half or a quarter. Add this to the tomatoes with garlic and roast for another half hour.

Take out of the oven and let cool, then blitz in a food processor or with a stick blender. Push it through a sieve – you will be left with a fair bit of pulp in your sieve, add a bit of pulp to your sauce if you like, depending on how thick your like your salsa. Balance your salsa with lime juice and vinegar.

THANKS RAPH for sharing your salsa secrets with us this month!  If you’re in Melbourne, you can sample Raph’s fast, flavourful food at either Beatbox Kitchen and Taco Truck, across Melbourne at various locations!

Home cooked corn chips!  Photo – Sean Fennessy