It's no secret that I'm not the biggest fan of summer but there are a couple of things that keep me coming back for more: my flower garden is a cacophony of color, it's still light out for our usual 8:30 dinner time, and my all-time favorite -- fresh from the farm tomatoes and garlic. I like tomatoes in all their incarnations -- sliced with Maldon sea salt on top, in a sandwich with bacon and avocado, in a quiche with corn, and on a tart with gorgonzola and pancetta. Seriously, they make an appearance at nearly every dinner when the tomato season is in full swing and homemade salsa is a great way to harness that summer tomato goodness.
Lake Superior CSA has a plan to make you a salsa-making master -- it's as easy as visiting their website (link here) and then using my recipes for Pico de Gallo and a blender restaurant-style salsa (which is my favorite and the recipe featured in these photos)....or use your own favorite salsa recipe! These two salsas are pretty different in taste and texture -- the pico is fresh and chunky (well-suited for chips) and the blender salsa is smoother, in both texture and flavor (perfect for tacos and tamales). They are super easy to put together and are a definite step-up from grocery store salsas!
Blender Restaurant-Style Salsa
2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes
2/3 cup onion, rough chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 jalapeños, rough chopped, seeds removed if you prefer a less spicy salsa (can substitute your favorite peppers, adjust amount based on how spicy you want the salsa)
1/2 cup cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Rough chop the tomatoes, onion, peppers, garlic, and cilantro and add them to your blender. Add the cumin and salt, pulse it a few times and then blend the salsa for 30 -- 45 seconds.
Preheat the oil in a medium sized pan, add the salsa, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and then simmer for about 30 minutes (if you use plum tomatoes, reduce the time to about 15 minutes as the tomatoes will have less liquid), or until the salsa is a deep red color and has reduced down a bit. Taste and add more salt, if needed. This is not a canning salsa but will keep in your refrigerator for two weeks.
Pico de Gallo
2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
2 fresh jalapeño chiles, chopped and seeds removed, if you prefer a less spicy salsa
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Kosher salt, to taste
Place all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl, taste for salt, and let it sit for about 30 minutes before serving. One note about the tomatoes -- if you are using slicing or beef-steak tomatoes, remove the seeds and place in a colander for about 30 minutes to remove as much as the juice as possible. Pico is best served on the day it's made but will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.