You know that excited feeling you get sitting down at your favorite Mexican restaurant, and you know within minutes, someone will bring you a glorious bounty of chips and salsa?! This is honestly my favorite part of eating at any Mexican restaurant. For me, those chips are a vehicle for shoveling as much salsa into my mouth as I possibly can. Is that bad??? Restaurant salsa is all good in my book, but have you ever made fresh salsa at home?
Salsa is one of the true food loves of my life. Fresh, fire-roasted, tomatillo, the list goes on and on and the goodness just doesn’t quit! While I love experimenting with salsas of all kind, it doesn't get much better than a classic tomato salsa with red onion, cilantro, spicy jalapeños and lime juice. Finished off with some smoky cumin and salt and pepper, it’s hard to beat!
I have been making some version of this salsa since my awkward pre-teen years. It is so delicious, I could honestly eat it by the spoonful! Anytime you’re making salsa, you can really use whatever variety of tomato that you like. Vine-ripened and beefsteak tomatoes are great choices since they are packed with flavor! For this version, I went with what looked best in the grocery store at the time…juicy, hothouse tomatoes and Roma tomatoes.
For this salsa, I blanched the hothouse tomatoes to remove the skin. Some say that this is an unnecessary process and while I don’t completely disagree, I like to take that extra step. I don’t know if it’s just my imagination, but I feel like sometimes the skins can add a bitter flavor that I am just not that in to. Sorry skins!
To blanch the tomatoes, I make little shallow cuts around the skin and drop them into boiling water for about a minute or less. The skin will start to curl up when they are ready to come out. Let them cool in a colander for a few minutes and the skins will slide right off. If you’re short on time or decide not to blanch, you can do a rough chop of the hothouse tomatoes in a food processor and use a fork to pick out any larger pieces of the skin that are left lingering.
I like to do a very rough chop of the hothouse tomatoes in my ever so handy Ninja Food Processor. You don’t want to completely liquify these guys, just a 2-4 quick pulses of the food processor should be plenty. Pour those tomatoes into a larger mixing bowl. For the Roma tomatoes, you can skip the blanching process and just do a quick dice for a nice, chunky texture. I love the combination of textures that you get from the pulsed hothouse and the diced Romas.
You can add a pinch of salt at this point and your diced red onion. This recipe only uses 1/4 of a red onion. If you eat a lot of salsa in one sitting (which I always do), too much red onion can make you an onion breathing dragon the next morning! Not a great way to start the day!
Next, you can add your garlic, jalapeño, cilantro and lime juice. I like chopping the garlic, jalapeño and cilantro together in the food processor. If you don’t want a really spicy salsa, you can take out some of the seeds or just use half of the pepper, just be sure to wash your hands after!
**Helpful hint - Since the pepper and garlic are smaller, dry ingredients, they have a tendency to stick to the sidewalls of the processor. I find that if you add a little bit of the pulsed tomato back into the food processor in this step, it will help the rest of the ingredients get off that wall and really get a nice chop.**
Once you squeeze your lime in, add some salt, pepper and cumin (optional) to taste and you’re done! For maximum flavor, give the salsa some time to come together (at least 20 minutes). Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This batch will make about 4 cups of salsa, which is enough to bring to a friends house for a fiesta or game day snack and still have some to munch on later.
As always, you can adjust the quantities of the ingredients to match your taste perfectly. I hope you enjoy this fresh tomato salsa!
Thanks for Chewsing!