If you can chop veggies, you can make fresh salsa.
It’s just that easy.
And it’s a bajillion times better than anything you can buy in a jar.
How can it be THAT easy and THAT delicious? I don’t know. But it is.
And for some reason, people always “oooh” and “ahhh” when you serve it up.
I love the stuff.
Chips and fresh salsa–favorite food on the planet, hands down.
There is really no RECIPE, per say, for making it either.
Just primary ingredients.
Here they are–write ’em down:
Make sure they are fresh, firm and ripe.
If you don’t have good tomatoes to start with, chances are your salsa won’t taste all that great.
Not yellow, not red. White. They’re milder, and that’s important since you’ll be eating them raw.
One, maybe two, depending on how spicy you want it. Seeds removed.
In my opinion, it’s not salsa unless it has cilantro. Best herb in the whole wide world.
Lemon will work in a pinch, but a little lime juice makes a BIG difference.
Optional, but I’m pretty sure garlic just makes everything taste better.
And that’s it.
Chop your veggies and herbs, toss together, squeeze in some lime, season with salt, and you have fresh salsa.
The picture above is what you’d call Pico de Gallo, sometimes called salsa fresca.
(Weird fact: pico de gallo means “beak of the rooster.” Go figure.)
Pico is a fresh-chopped, non-liquidy salsa traditionally made of tomatoes, white onion, & jalapenos.
It almost always contains cilantro and lime as well.
It is my absolute favorite when it comes to salsa, and it’s the easiest kind to make.
It can be served with chips of course, but it’s a very versatile condiment, and can be used as a topping on grilled chicken or fish, stuffed into a burrito, or with a bowl of beans and rice.
To make pico, grab a few tomatoes and get chopping. You will want to try to remove most of the seeds from the tomatoes as you chop them, or toss everything into a colander with a bowl underneath, and allow the liquid to drain slowly.
Once drained, add in the onion, peppers, cilantro, garlic, and give it a drink of lime juice. Season it with salt and that rooster’s beak is DONE!
If you want a runnier salsa, instead of draining out the liquid, toss everything into your food processor, and pulse it a few times.
You’ll get something like this:
Pico is always made with fresh tomatoes and veggies.
But not all “homemade salsa” starts with fresh tomatoes.
I worked at a Mexican restaurant for about 5 years, and I loved their salsa.
It was very liquidy, and had a few bits of onion floating around in it, and cilantro of course. I found out later that they actually used canned tomatoes!
Sometimes I do the same–I’ll start with a can of crushed tomatoes, (or process a can of diced tomatoes), then add in some fresh ingredients (…chopped white onion, cilantro, and jalapeno, of course!)
I make this kind of salsa a lot in winter, when it’s harder to find tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes.
This summer, I canned a WHOLE bunch of my own diced tomatoes–and I’m pretty sure quite a few of those jars will end up as salsa.
Here’s a batch I did where I mixed some of my fresh pico with a can of rotel and processed it until it was smooth. Then I added in my cilantro and gave it one final pulse. I like to see bigger pieces of cilantro in my salsa.
When I give my kids fresh salsa, I usually have to puree it pretty smooth, since they don’t like the large chunks of tomato and onion.
To my absolute delight, all my kids adore salsa, and they all like it pretty hot, which is awesome.
(ok, the truth is that we eat Mexican food at least once a week and at this point, they have no choice but to like it!). =]
Of course, the boys had to give this batch a taste-test.
Once you get the basics of fresh salsa down, you can play around with it..
Hold the garlic and throw in some fresh chopped peaches or mango.
Or, for a smokey flavor, roast your tomatoes and onions on the grill before chopping them up. Then, instead of fresh jalapeno peppers, chop up a chipotle pepper with a bit of adobo sauce. Mmm.
There are lots of ways you can make fresh salsa, as long as you know your main ingredients.
Let’s Review the Major Players:
Tomato, Onion, Jalapeno, Cilantro, Lime.
How much of each is up to you.
(ALRIGHT, if you really have no idea how much of each to use, I’d say, start with , oh, maybe 4 or 5 tomatoes, 1 white onion, 1 jalapeno, 1/2 bunch cilantro, 1 lime…a couple of garlic cloves and salt to taste…then modify from there).
Now it’s your turn to go wow your family and friends by making up your own
batch of homemade fresh salsa!
Be sure and let me know how it goes!
*If you’ve got a great salsa recipe you want to share with me and other readers, please leave a comment or link below!