In late summer and early fall, my garden is bursting with vine-ripened tomatoes and we indulge in a lot of salsa during the short season. A 5-quart batch can easily be consumed in two days between Cody and I. I also like to make large batches and share the deliciousness with family and friends.
I’ve been asked by many for my salsa recipe and I usually dodge giving it away because truthfully, there is no recipe. To have a recipe implies there are measurements and specifics that are followed with each batch. The reality is my ‘recipe’ varies based on what I have available and how heavy-handed I am with seasoning.
If I were to draft a recipe or consider my ideal salsa batch though, it would look like this. You decided on the quantities based on your personal taste
- Tomatoes, fresh from the garden. All varieties, all colors.
- Bell peppers, same notes as applied to tomatoes.
- Jalapenos, fresh or canned, as many as you like!
- Red onion (more flavor and better match than yellow or white)
- Lime: Zest and juice–this is the ‘secret’ in my salsa
- Cilantro, fresh is best but dried or paste can be substituted
- Garlic powder
- Cumin, ground
- Salt, pink Himalayan
- Balsamic vinegar
- Honey–REAL honey, not corn syrup!
My salsa is a labor of love. Everything is hand chopped. No blender or food processor can replicate the work of a hand and sharp knife. And electric appliances reduce the flavor and experience in my opinion. I will make an exception with the jalapenos and use my ‘slap ‘n’ chop’ gadget to get them very fine and break up the skins so they really marry into the mix and eliminate a surprise bite.
- Chop everything (I like a hearty salsa but prefer small mince cuts so you get a bit of everything on the chip with every dip, but is a bit more work to get fine knife cuts.)
- Add the zest and juice of one lime. As stated above, this is my secret. It’s an ingredient that I don’t know many others do but the lime marinades the batch and adds a brightness and an enhanced flavor contrast to the vegetables.
- Add your seasonings. I eyeball everything and tend to season heavier than some may…. experiment, and see what you like. The cilantro will add a freshness and the cumin and paprika give an earthiness–they are universal and in almost every dish I create.
- A splash of balsamic vinegar and dollop of honey will again help the marriage of the batch, but these could be omitted.
It can be enjoyed immediately but is even better if given some time to sit. Of course, the go-to way to eat salsa is with tortilla or corn chips. I put it in my eggs for breakfast, with avocado, on top of meat, and of course, with tacos.
Sometimes I make variations by adding sweet corn, beans and cucumbers.