2 February 2013

Simple Tomato Salsa

Tomato salsa is so basic but so remarkably satisfying. I can demolish a large bowl in a matter of minutes as it hits all the receptors in my brain for good food - it's fast, fresh and full of flavour. My Great Uncle Henry, a strawberry farmer from Watsonville, California, was a gruff man with a penchant for bolo ties, a dead pan humour that terrified me as a child and could make fresh salsa using only tomatoes, fresh jalapeños and red onion that was out of this world. Maybe it was the Californian sunshine, the absolutely ripe red tomatoes or it could be the juxtaposition between the salsa and the crates of sweet fat strawberries we lived on but something about this tomato salsa was memorable.

My Dad is now the salsa maker in our family. I love being at my parents' house in the summer around dusk when Dad (another gruff man) comes in with a glass of wine and something to nibble on before dinner. It could be a Russian roulette of mild or burning hot visibly indistinguishable home grown chillies stuffed with cheese and garlic salt then grilled; or if we've been fishing some heavenly melt in the mouth home smoked fish. Sometimes it's a few crackers with cheese, tomato and a good dusting of salt, and then there is the tomato salsa, made up in his shed using tomatoes from the vine cut up with a fishing knife, any onion  (white, red or spring) available and a jalapeño from the planter box. Perfection.
  • 6 ripe tomatoes (in season), chopped and drained
  • 1 - 2 fresh jalapeño chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 small red onion, finely chopped (start with half, then add more if needed)
  • garlic salt, to taste
**optional: fresh coriander, lime juice
Sometimes I add coriander and lime juice, and sometimes not; if my tomatoes are ripe and full of flavour I usually omit them
  1. chop tomatoes and drain briefly in a colander to remove some of the liquid
  2. combine chopped tomatoes, jalapeños and red onion (along with coriander if using)
  3. season with garlic salt (and lime if using), mixing in a little at a time until to your taste
  4. enjoy!

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