The time has come. From recent tweets, it seems that everyone is wondering what to do with all the tomatoes.
And even though I try, each and every year, to proselytize everyone within ear/blog-shot to try tomato pie, there are only so many of those you can make in one season. This summer, I’ve been relying heavily on a classic salsa fresca to keep my counters free of over-ripening (and fruit-fly-drawing) tomatoes.
We didn’t grow jalapenos in our garden, but they’ve been coming in our box from Big City Farms — and those boxes have also been supplying us with small, sweet red peppers. The wonderful thing about a fresh salsa is that you can improvise a good deal, and still have something delicious. The basic necessities are tomatoes, onion (or scallion), garlic, and acid (lime or lemon juice, and/or vinegar). If you have cilantro, a handful is a classic addition — but I usually pass on it and go for the same amount of flat-leaf parsley (heresy in some circles, I know, but not in this one).
This makes a small amount of salsa — maybe 1 1/2 – 2 cups — so it won’t last long (not even a day in my house). I’ve been making a batch at lunchtime, and throwing it on top of a simple cheese quesadilla, or simply scooping it up with blue corn chips until I’ve had my fill. It’s so satisfyingly tangy — and the tomatoes are sweet and able to shine in that way they can only do during summer months.
This recipe is adapted from one in Molly Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook (I’ve simplified it a bit, and use jalapenos rather than red pepper flakes for heat).
Salsa Fresca (fresh tomato salsa)
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
- 1 very small sweet pepper, chopped (optional)
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- 2 Tbsp cilantro or Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (or more to taste)
- 3/4 tsp salt
Toss all ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste, and add more salt or lime juice to taste. Refrigerate unused portion in a covered container.