Some tomatoes are lingering on my kitchen counter. And would you look there? Some beautiful peppers just showed up by way of a generous co-worker enjoying a rich bounty. The stage is set to whip up a homemade batch of what is arguably America’s most popular condiment. Ketchup? Nope. We’re talking a homemade salsa recipe!
Back in 1991, the favorite topper for tacos, enchiladas, burritos and undisputed champion tortilla chip dip surpassed the French fry’s best friend and never looked back. In an increasingly food-savvy nation, the many varieties of salsa add up to big business.
Salsa may feel fairly new to the condiment scene, but this favorite has been popular for thousands of years. Salsa was even a staple in the Aztec culture, where favored recipes included squash seeds and legumes.
Yet the term did not appear in the American lexicon until the early 1960s. The squash seeds are gone and the beans are less common, but this juggernaut of culinary versatility comes in styles to serve every palate.
Modern salsa recipes commonly includes tomatoes, peppers, onions, lime juice and cilantro, but the varieties are legion. Some like it hot, including the most fiery of peppers. Others might include mango, pineapple or peaches for a sweeter profile. Tomatoes can be pureed for a thinner “picante” style, or tomatillos used for a green “salsa verde.”
Although the jarred stuff can be found at every turn, making fresh salsa at home takes little effort and there’s no better way to bring the fresh flavors of the garden together with such versatility. Depending on what you’re growing this year, any manner of vegetables and herbs may be plucked from the home garden and included to meet any taste.
This basic recipe for fresh, homemade salsa is a great place to start, but let your garden (and your taste buds) be your guide. Whether it’s corn, cucumbers or even roasted root vegetables, salsa is the great equalizer.
As for me, I’ve already swapped parsley in for the cilantro and I have an eggplant that would be right at home roasted, diced and tossed into the mix.
Salsa Fresca Recipe
- 6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped*
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoon cilantro
- Juice of ½ lime
- Salt and pepper
- Combine tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and cilantro in a bowl.
- Drizzle lime juice over salsa and and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours to allow flavors to merge.
- Add additional salt and pepper, if needed, before serving.
*If you prefer to bring the heat, some or all of the seeds can be left in.