This recipe for red salsa leaves out one key traditional ingredient: onions. What’s left is a sweet, tangy blend and a spicy kick that can be adjusted to taste. Fresh ingredients–summer tomatoes, fresh cilantro, lime, fresh garlic–are the key to transforming this recipe from similar-to-jarred into “restaurant quality.” (As my cousin put it. Thanks again, lady!). Best of all, it only takes a few minutes to make and requires almost no chopping!
My grandmother has been known for her gigantic tomato collection for decades. Ceramic tomatoes, Campbell’s tomato soup signs, tomato shaped mugs, tomato salt and pepper shakers of all sizes, tomato cutting boards, tomato magnets, and so much more decorate every surface her sunny country kitchen. Now that she’s preparing to sell the farm, my sister, my mother, and I have been photographing and cataloging a lifetime of tomatoes piece by piece.
My grandpa was known in the family for his love of eating tomatoes. Maybe that inspired her collection? I have never asked.
Confession: despite the family history, honestly, I don’t really like tomatoes. Years of training keeps me from not picking them off burgers and sandwiches. Let me tell you, I am really the black sheep of tomato enjoyment in my mom’s side of the family. I like looking at them. I love the juxtaposition of grandma’s red tomatoes in front of her country green plaid wall paper. I just don’t feel like eating them.
So when I received a pile of Roma tomatoes in my weekly produce co-op basket, I was less than thrilled…
…until the clouds above opened and the idea for this salsa floated down. Hallelujah salsa!
I brought this salsa to my grandma’s house for Sunday dinner with the family, and they gobbled it up! (On Sundays only, dinner equals lunch, supper equals dinner. Local Kansas country colloquialism lesson for the day!)
This salsa is a hit! I’ve had people asking for more!
-3 garlic cloves
approximately 1/4 c fresh cilantro
-3 Roma tomatoes
-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded (leave seeds in for spicy salsa!! Ay-yay-yay!)
-1 tsp cumin
-1/2 tsp salt
-juice from half a lime (or the whole lime, because it’s yummy that way too)
- Blend cilantro and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped.
- Add remaining ingredients and pulse food processor until uniform texture is achieved. Easy!
- Chill and serve cold as dip for chips or a topping on any Mexican flavored dish. Be prepared for it to disappear quickly!
Adjust to your taste. If it’s too spicy, add more tomato. If it’s too bland, add the jalapeno seeds. If you don’t like cilantro, well, I don’t understand people who don’t like cilantro. But, we can overcome our differences and still be friends, ok?
Side note! For me, I’ve learned that my dislike of tomatoes is limited to heirloom tomatoes. Even though it seems like the opposite should be true, heirloom tomatoes are the type of tomato that embraces that watery, bland flavor that you find placed on a fast food burger. The newer strands of tomatoes that have been developed in recent years highlight the acidity and provide actual flavor. But, I know this is a controversial opinion… you heirloom tomato people are crazy about your watery tomatoes. Look at it this way: I’m just leaving more available for you to eat!