I think of this salsa as Mexico in a bowl, the profound culinary flavours of the country embodied here in bursts of sharp purple onion, sweet vine-ripened tomatoes, the tangy jolt of lime juice, spicy peppers with a big kick and the floral flourish of cilantro. It is the cohabitation of these elements that really speaks deeply of Mexican tastes, the flavours I crave when I think of sun-drenched, colourful foods from that sun-drenched, colourful country.
Some salsas are cooked, deep and dark, smooth and savoury. This is a fresh salsa, chunky and robust, with nothing gentle or delicate about it. It is best eaten soon after it is prepared, where the sparkle of ingredients remains bright and inviting. Think of this salsa as more of a salad, a condiment, than a sauce, though it is intensely wonderful liberally spooned over grilled chicken in a sauce-like manner. I enjoy this salsa as a juicy side to fried eggs or a simmering bowl of hot polenta. It is great with BBQ salmon, stuffed into corn tortillas, on nachos or slathered on a juicy steak. When your mouth needs a journey to somewhere tantalizingly spicy, take it to this tomato-laden condiment for a dose of Mexican fun. You will never want to eat grocery store salsa again after a fling with this flavourful, flirty dish.
Fresh Tomato Salsa
4 ripe tomatoes, diced; 1-2 jalapeno peppers, depending on how hot you like things, seeds and ribs removed, diced; 1/4 cup diced Spanish onion; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro; juice of 1/2 a lime; pinch of powdered cumin, optional; salt and pepper to taste; pinch of sugar.
In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, jalapenos and onion. Add in crushed garlic, lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper and sugar. Mix and taste. Adjust seasoning if needed. Best eaten immediately, as the tomatoes start to leech liquid if left too long. If this does happen, simply drain off the water, stir the salsa and serve. It will still taste great for a few hours.
Enjoy the harvest of summer with salsa and more market fresh foods: