I love salsa! Homemade salsa rates right up there for me like chili does because it satisfies on so many levels. I have been known to put salsa on everything from my eggs to a dish of cottage cheese, sometimes grossing others out in the process. Fortunately, I am not a person offended by disgust over my often random food combinations (um, didn’t everyone have a grilled cheese w/ strawberry jam phase? no? hmm…) When tomato season arrives and you can get a bushel of tomatoes at a good price, salsa is something I like to make a very large batch of and can to enjoy later (believe me–we go through tons and I have this habit of giving lots of it away because I have this other habit of thinking everyone else should love everything I love…I’m working on that, okay?) This recipe is a small batch with a few pounds of tomatoes. I doubt it will last us a few days!
L.A.'s Simple Salsa
3 pounds fresh tomatoes(peeled and chopped) I used Romas
2 green peppers
1 small sweet onion
2 jalapeno peppers
2 serrano peppers
3 cloves garlic
2 TBS white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 TBS. black pepper
about 2 or 3 TBS. tomato paste
at least 2 TBS. fresh chopped cilantro (a MUST in this!!)
Chop all veggies to desired consistency, add remaining ingredients and simmer at least 15 minutes. Refrigerate any leftovers.
*when working with hot peppers, ALWAYS wear gloves. They burn your skin. Take my word for it. I tell you this because I am one of those people who for some reason never thinks they will be affected by things the way everyone else is and I would always think, “well, I’m sure they might burn some people, but I’m not sensitive-skinned so I doubt that would happen to me.” It did. They do. And to really embarrass myself I will further admit that even though I know they will burn me because they have burned me in the past, I still would never get around to getting on those gloves. Imagine that: something burned me. Something continued to burn me and yet I couldn’t seem to take measures to prevent myself from continuing to be burned. But one day I finally decided to put on some gloves because I realized that if they’d burned me in the past they would burn me again and I’m tired of getting burned. I must be growing up…
If you are unfamiliar with peeling tomatoes, this is how I do it: drop tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes and then plunge them into ice water. The edges will then look peel-y. Peel them the rest of the way, dice them up a bit and throw them into a heavy sauce pan. Using a potato masher, keep mashing at them until they are the consistency that you like. If you like big chunks, don’t go too long. If you like yours pretty finely chopped (like me) keep mashing til you get it that way.
Put all your veggies in your food processor or handy chopper and chop them to the consistency you like. Again, if you like larger chunks, I would recommend doing them by hand. I don’t like large chunks in mine so the processor works great for this. Stir them into your tomatoes and cook on low flame.
Next comes your cilantro. YUM!
Pull the leaves off stalk and chop finely. Add your cilantro and tomato paste to your mixture on stove. Simmer for at least 15 minutes, but longer if you desire. *for leftover tomato paste: drop by spoonfuls on a cookie tray lined with wax paper. When frozen, store in Ziploc bag. The next time you need a tablespoon or two of tomato paste in your salsa or sauce recipe, they are handy in the freezer. Voila!*
After your salsa is done simmering, it is ready to be cooled and enjoyed. This particular recipe packs a pretty healthy punch. It didn’t leave my lips throbbing, but it did make my nose run. I like spicy! If you don’t like yours as spicy, use milder levels of peppers. Play around with the recipe and find out what works for you. Store any leftovers in the fridge. Let’s see: fresh salsa, heated tortilla chips… just grab your cold beverage of choice and I do believe you may have just served yourself up a slice of heaven!