One of my favorite vegetables (or fruit some would argue) is the tomato. Now if you had asked me how I liked tomatoes about 20 years ago, I would’ve said they were the grossest thing on earth. From the time I was a little girl my great-grandmother “Ginnie” and grandmother “DaGa”, as well as my mom took on a mission to make me and my sister like tomatoes. To them it was almost unAmerican and very unSouthern-like to despise tomatoes as much as we did. They tried sprinkling a little sugar on them (um gross!!!), hiding them in dishes, and practically bribing us to eat them. My mom always says “you have to try something 13 times before you can say you really don’t like it.” I’m not sure if that’s what eventually worked for me, but now I love them. Unfortunately my husband hates them just as much as the 8 year-old me, which makes me sad sometimes about how much he is missing out on my yummy tomato dishes.
The other day at the farmer’s market I saw rows and rows of plump tomatoes and it gave me the urge to make some fresh salsa. As I strolled through the farmers booths, I remembered helping my grandmothers plant their tomatoes in their backyard gardens. Sometimes we had so many tomatoes we would run out of widow sills in the kitchen to line them with!! One of our family’s favorite uses for these garden-fresh tomatoes was homemade salsa. Here’s a slight adaptation from that salsa recipe that my mom taught me back in the day…
For the Fresh Summer Salsa (try saying that 3 times fast!) recipe you will need the following:
- 3 medium sized tomatoes
- fresh cilantro (I got a big bunch at the farmer’s market for only 1$!!)
- 1 can black beans
- 1 1/2 cups of sweet frozen corn (or you can use fresh)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 large red onion
- 2 tsp. lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper
What I love about this recipe is that I pretty much change it up based on what’s available and what I’m in the mood for. If I’m not really in a “spicy kind of mood” I will leave out the jalapeno pepper, or if I don’t have fresh cilantro I just use dried.
First thing you do is chop the vegetables. This might intimidate some people who don’t have good chopping skills, but practice makes perfect. Just make sure you have a nice sharp knife, otherwise you’re going to make your tomatoes squishy…and nobody likes squishy tomatoes.
I usually start with the onion largely because if you start with the tomatoes your cutting board is going to be all juicy and watery…
Just dice it on up! You don’t want the onion pieces to be too big.
Then I usually go to the garlic. If you don’t have a fancy garlic press just 1) smash it with the flat side of your knife, 2) peel the papery skin off, and…
Now it’s time to tackle the jalapeno… I’m not going to lie, I HATE touching jalapenos after I accidentally touched my eye after chopping them… smart move, but someone always has to learn the hard way.
Add in the amount of jalapeno according to your own preference. Now if I was making this salsa only for my husband or dad who think eating a jalapeno is a walk in the park I would probably put the whole thing in, chopped up, including seeds. For those of us who like a little kick but don’t want to be sucking down 5 gallons of water after a bite, I added in 1/2 of the jalapeno minus the seeds. Or if you’re one of those sensitive people who don’t like spice in your life leave it out completely!
Ta da! You’ve made some amazingly simple and Fresh Summer Salsa! I like to enjoy mine with organic blue corn tortilla chips and a corona light!