Monday, June 30, 2008

Raw salsa

I'm desperate for the tomato season to start. Is there anything better than fresh tomatoes? Those things they try to pass off in the supermarket as tomatoes hardly fulfill my craving for this delightful fruit. But I'll admit it: I cheat. I buy hothouse tomatoes from Maine. I get grape tomatoes from California. I'll even resort, in the dead of winter, when the cravings are too overwhelming, to those mealy faux-tomatoes at Stop and Shop.

In our last CSA pick up, we got PURPLE scallions that I was pretty excited about. And what is the best thing to make with scallions? SALSA! Yes. Shh, don't tell the tomatoes growing at the farm, but I cheated on them. I just couldn't wait. I mean, I had the scallions, I have cilantro in my herb garden that is huge and already flowering. Thank goodness for those greenhouses in Maine, getting me my tomato fix.

I make a very simple, fresh salsa. All raw, very bright, uncluttered flavor. I make it with nothing spicy so my boys will eat it. It is one of the few relatively healthy foods they'll eat, so I keep it plain and find it's still outstanding. However, if we get some hot peppers later this summer in our CSA share, I'll probably toss some in for TK and I to enjoy. Here's the recipe:


Tomatoes (any kind...I've even made it with halved grape tomatoes)
Diced jalepenos or other hot peppers, or tobasco sauce (optional, I usually omit so my kids will eat it).


You may notice this recipe lacks quantities. Can I say it's all to taste? Well, I'm going to! But, I'll try to give some hints here in the directions.

Cut tomatoes in half and squeeze out seeds. You can use your finger to squish some out, or even just gently squeeze the tomato. You don't have to perfectly get all the seeds out. In fact, if I use grape tomatoes, I don't even bother seeding them. You just don't want your salsa to be drippy with seeds.

Dice the seeded tomatoes.

Finely slice the whites (or purples in my case) of the scallions. Reserve the green part for something else! I would say as a rule of thumb, if you're using medium sized tomatoes, you'll want to use one scallion for every two tomatoes. Or more or less, depending on your taste.

Chop some cilantro leaves. How much? Oh, it depends on how much you like it. I use a few sprigs for each tomato, then add more if I feel like it needs it.

Mix the tomatoes, scallions, and cilantro leaves, then start adding the salt. I use a salt cracker (actually, I let my boys add it), so I just keep tasting. It does take a bit of salt, and I don't like my food very salty. I've made it with very little salt, but I find it's the salt that really makes the flavors of the salsa pop. So be guided by your own taste buds on this one.

Eat immediately. We rarely have leftovers, but you can store it for a day or two. You'll probably have to drain off some excess water if you keep it in the fridge overnight, but it still tastes wonderful.

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