One of my absolute favorite things to make in summertime is fresh salsa. I’m a serious tomato snob, so when they finally start showing their round, red faces I eat them in mass quantities and salsa is probably my favorite way.
If there’s anyone out there who enjoys salsa and really loves tomatoes who’s never had fresh salsa, I insist you try it. Make your own. It’s easy and so worth it.
I’ll never forget the first time I had it. I was in high school and my dad’s new girlfriend made some. Being a long time fan of Mexican food, I was game to try anything Mexi that came my way. I had never even considered that salsa could be made fresh and raw like that. Dad’s friend made the salsa in the morning and insisted that it be done this way so that the flavors had time to merge and meld before eating. She was right, however I could totally have eaten it for breakfast. Spoon some a’dat on my eggs and I would have been more than satisfied. But I waited. As instructed. Come late afternoon we broke out a bag of chips and this bowl of salsa. I was hooked instantly. It was like candy to me. I think I ate most of the bowl. All those fresh flavors coming alive and jumping around my mouth—not too spicy, but loaded with flavor. Heaven.
So, this week we explore salsas. And just what is a salsa anyway? I know it means “sauce,â€ but we reserve the title for certain dishes. We don’t typically call tomato sauce “salsa.â€
Here is what wikipedia.com has to say on the matter:
“In Italian or Spanish, salsa can refer to any type of sauce, but in English it usually refers to the spicy, often tomato-based hot sauces typical of Mexican cuisine, particularly those used as dips.â€
Well then, let’s get dipping, shall we?
I’m a firm believer that salsa is a “to tasteâ€ kind of food. My recipes won’t have a lot of precise measurements because I think it’s too personal for that. Use your own judgment and your own taste when throwing a salsa together, that’s what I say.
Get plenty of chips because I have never had leftovers when serving this at a party.
1/2 a medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 garden ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow or orange pepper (avoid red if you want great color—you’ve already got red tomates) seeded, ribs removed, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (or more if you like it garlicy!)
1/4 — 1/2 tsp. chopped jalapeno pepper (to taste depending on your spiciness goals)
1-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbs. or so freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbs. or so olive oil
Freshly ground pepper and coarse salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in bowl and let sit for at least an hour before serving. Refrigerate if you’ll serve it in over an hour.
You can do all this in a food processor, but I don’t recommend it unless you want a really smooth salsa. I like it chunkier and I find most people do—when it’s fresh you want to taste all the specific flavors as well as the whole package.
And if you want to go step further, make your own tortilla chips (sort of). Muffintop reminds us that we don’t have to make them from scratch to make them better than store-bought!