Hot Salsa

September 15, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by Susan W
  • Makes 2 cups
Author Notes

Whenever I go home to San Diego, a trip to Rubios for a Baja fish taco is always on the top of my "must have" list. I love grabbing a fish taco and walking down to the Crystal Pier at sunset. After looking on the internet and finding a few copycat recipes, I tinkered with it until it looked and tasted like Rubios' salsa. —Susan W

What You'll Need
  • 15 ounces can plain tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup dried chili flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup water
  1. I like to grind one half of the chili flakes in a spice grinder. This makes for a very spicy salsa, so beware. If you don't want it to be that spicy, leave the flakes whole and feel free to reduce the amount to 1/4 cup. Toast the flakes in a dry skillet over medium heat until they are dark brown, but not black. This usually takes 4-5 minutes. Add the ground flakes, if using, for just the last 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce and water. Let simmer 5-10 minutes. Add salt and sugar and let simmer another 2-4 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Especially salt. It will taste very bland and too tomatoey without enough salt. Cool and refrigerate. This salsa tastes better when cool or cold. Enjoy!!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Susan W
    Susan W
  • Mackman1

2 Reviews

Mackman1 October 12, 2020
I used to go to Rubio's fairly regularly for one reason and one reason only: To stock up on their salsa. I would shamelessly fill over a dozen of those little salsa containers up so that I would have some for a couple days after.

I haven't been back since I read this recipe a few years ago. It's absolutely perfect. It couldn't be simpler and it's a dead ringer for the real stuff from the restaurant. It's delicious.

HOWEVER: Stick with regular red pepper flakes. Don't try to be fancy and see what it's like with hotter stuff. I made a batch with habanero flakes, and I can barely get through 3 street-sized tacos. I have to spend 15 minutes drinking milk and eating ice to get the burn to go away.

Learn from my mistakes. Don't mess with perfection.
Susan W. October 12, 2020
I’m so glad you like it and I can totally see myself making the same mistake. I live in Oregon now, so when I visit family in SD, I do the same thing. 2 tacos and 10 salsas. Lol