Friday, August 28, 2015

TH Cooks: Homemade Salsa

Photo Credit: TH
Salsa is one of those foods that has become a staple at parties. A lot of people get it at the supermarket out of jars, or they may splurge and get the fresher-looking pico de gallo that comes in those plastic containers. But honestly, making salsa is one of the easiest things you can do, and the results are almost always better than what you'd get on average, unless you're buying the artisanal stuff or are going to a Mexican restaurant and getting it on the table. Truth be told, most people aren't doing that. I've been making my own for almost a decade now, and unless everyone I know has been lying to me, they all seem to love it.

Maybe breaking out the "TH Cooks" title for this is misleading since making this salsa involves no application of heat whatsoever, but putting "TH Makes" in the title is, well, let's not get into the implications of what that phrase might mean, especially to dog owners. The ingredient list is pretty simple and flexible, actually:
Tomatoes, either one can pre-diced tomatoes or five-seven tomatoes (heirloom or plum), diced
one medium onion
one bell pepper (any color but green)
two-three jalapeno peppers (ribs and seeds optional)
five cloves garlic
several sprigs cilantro
juice from a half a lime
lime zest
salt to taste
If you have good tomatoes that you can use, by all means take the extra time to dice them up. However, I've found that you don't lose much flavor by using the canned diced tomatoes, and it saves a lot of work. Also, using green peppers adds a lot of unnecessary bitterness. You're going to want that sweet note to counteract the sharp taste of the raw onion and the acid from the lime.

Anyway, dice the tomatoes (or dump them out into your container), the bell pepper (course), and the jalapeno (fine). Then, slice the onion into rough chunks, smash and rough chop the garlic cloves, and break apart the cilantro sprigs by hand before putting all three of those ingredients into a food processor to turn them into a very finely chopped near-paste. Place that mixture into your bowl and stir vigorously. Then, zest the lime into the mixture and squeeze one-half of the lime's juice into the bowl, mix vigorously again, and then add salt to taste. What you'll get in the end is a lot fresher and tastier than the stuff you find in the jar, and it's easy to make as well.