Season-straddler salsa

Weekend Herb BloggingThis is a story about kitchen experimentation. Luckily, it has a happy ending.

Last weekend, my college roommate, Jenny, whipped up some fabulous salsa. I’d been waiting to make fresh salsa until our tomatoes were ready to eat, but she used canned, diced tomatoes in her salsa, and it was delicious. As much as I cook, as much as I rely on canned tomatoes to get me through the long tomato off-season, I never thought to use them in salsa.

I didn’t get a recipe from her, but I stood there while she threw in some garlic, some onion, a can of the aforementioned tomatoes, jalapeños, and Italian parsley. (Note to the salsa purists: Jenny doesn’t like cilantro, and, to be honest, neither do I.)

I came home Tuesday night planning to whip up my own version of Jenny’s salsa, but between the grocery store and work, remembered there’s a Tuesday night farmer’s market at the mall near my house. I redirected the car that-a-way, ignoring entirely that it is never wise to visit a farmer’s market when you’re hungry for dinner.

The damage could have been worse. I found some tomato “uglies” on sale and young onions to use in the salsa, and did all the rest of the produce shopping for the week. Organic lettuce, three kinds of radishes (ignoring the fact that we still had leftover radishes in the produce drawer from my last trip to the farmer’s market), new potatoes, zucchini, kohlrabi, asparagus—it all went in the bags. I let the cheese curd guy suck me in with a taste of curds produced just that morning—I was lucky to escape with just a pound, and even luckier not to eat the whole thing between the market and my house.

I had a few grocery store necessities to pick up, so I stopped there next. Among other things, I picked up some fire-roasted canned diced tomatoes just in case I needed them, and a can of jalapeños. By this point, I was in no mood to seed a fresh hot pepper.

When I got home, I began assembling the salsa in a haphazard manner. I remembered to throw the garlic and salt in first, but almost threw the rest of the ingredients in before I got that far. Two of the young onions went in next, with the tomatoes and jalapeño to follow. A whirr in the food processor and it was already clear the uglies weren’t going to do the job. My proportions were off, and what I had was closer to a raw onion relish than a salsa.

Canned tomatoes to the rescue! One can of organic fire-roasted tomatoes later, I had salsa worth serving. We used it as salad dressing (one of my favorite salsa uses) over a pork fajita salad.

Experimental salsaSeason-straddler salsa

3 cloves of garlic
1/2 Tbsp. salt
4-5 small fresh tomatoes
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 small onions
1-4 jalapeños, depending on your heat tolerance
Juice of 1 lime
Additional salt to taste

Peel the garlic cloves and put them in the food processor with the salt, then pulse until chopped. Add the onions next, and pulse again until the onions are chopped and mixed with the garlic. Add the tomatoes and jalapeños, pulse again until everything is blended, then squeeze in the juice of one lime and pulse one more time to mix. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

This post is part of Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Kalyn’s Kitchen. Stop by to see the other recipes of the week!

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3 Responses to “Season-straddler salsa”


  1. 1 kalyn June 18, 2006 at 12:19 pm

    Genie, I found it. Do you use Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes? I think they’re really great tasting? Ok, huge confession here. I’ve never made salsa. Every year my sister cans it and give me about 10 bottles so I never make it myself. I’ve been meaning to try though, because fresh salsa is much different than canned.

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener June 18, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Kalyn! Thanks for looking for it — WordPress has been having some problems with the advance posting feature, which always makes it tough for lining up my schedule of posts! I had to go back in and re-post this morning.

    I do use the Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes — love those. If I’m putting canned tomatoes in anything, that’s what I almost always use.

    You know, I don’t make fresh salsa nearly as often as I probably should. It’s so easy and tastes so good. I think the reason I often hesitate is that recipes generally make more than I can eat at one time, and I don’t want to waste it. Plus, I try to avoid the almighty tortilla chip, except on special occasions, because I can down a huge pile of chips with salsa if given the opportunity. But like I said, it makes a great salad dressing — lots of flavor, no fat and plenty of great antioxidants.

    :-) Genie


  1. 1 Freshly roasted salsa « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on October 6, 2007 at 11:57 pm

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