I realize most people will say wing it and toss in tomatoes, onions, garlic, chili’s, cilantro, etc but I’ve never had much luck making something I really like that way. We have a Mexican restaurant nearby that makes my favorite salsa but they won’t give me their recipe.
This year I have fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, and onions from the garden. I’d like to put all of that goodness to use.
I think if it were me I would try some really small batches and see what suits your taste the best. It is really not good for you but I think one thing that makes salsa pop is having enough salt. I would not be afraid to season with a little sugar as well, tomatoes like salt and sugar
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4in dice
1 tsp salt
1/2 large sweet onion, 1/8in dice (about 3/4 cup)
1 poblano pepper (or green pepper), diced
3 tbsp very finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice from 1 lime
1 small clove of garlic
1 serrano or jalapeño chilie, finely diced
Season tomatoes with salt and toss to combine. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer or colander set in a bowl and allow to drain for 20 to 30 minutes. Discard liquid.
Combine drained tomatoes with onion, chilies, cilantro, and lime juice. Toss to combine and season to taste with salt. Pico de gallo can be stored for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Dimitri’s is pretty similar to how I do it although I’ve never drained the tomatoes (sounds worth trying though) and i skip the poblanos. I’d second what derby said about the importance of having enough salt. I use 1.5 tsp salt and 2 limes per 8 Roma tomatoes. Ive had better luck using only roma type tomatoes because they are a lot less watery. In my experience it’s all good as long as there is enough salt and lime.
Sounds like a bunch of good recipes here. One thought is that there is quite a bit of variation as to which peppers people like or don’t. And it is not just about how hot they are, there are significant flavor differences as well.
Personally, I don’t like jalapenos all that much, but do like poblanos. Not a right or wrong just personal preference. You should feel free to experiment with different peppers and find the ones you like. (same for the other ingredients too)
Some of the smoked peppers (fresh/dried or even as paprika) while perhaps not traditional can be quite good too.
Its probably worth asking—when you say salsa are you meaning pico or similar raw salsa or a cooked? There are many recipes for both/all 3 and you could well find any of them in a mexican restaurant but pico, fresh molcajete or whatever the word is for mortar-ground (typically food-processored now) and roasted all give very different profiles…all before you look at chiles used, cilantro, lime vs vinegar, etc
4 Cups Tomato - diced
1 Onion diced
3-6 Jalapeno diced or minced (or hot pepper of your choice)
1 Tbs minced Cilantro
1.5 tsp minced Garlic
1.5 tsp Salt
Addition of sugar is optional, we don’t use it.
We chose to add the cilantro and lime juice just before processing in the water bath. To the bottom of each pint jar we added 1-2 tsp of minced cilantro and 1 tsp of lime juice (adjust cilantro to taste). We hot packed the salsa mix, leaving 1/2" head space and process in the water bath for 10 min.
Tomatoes were scalded and peeled and I cut them in half and squeezed out what liquid and seed I could. The tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro were all diced/chopped in the food processor and the onion I chose to hand dice. The salsa mix (less the cilantro and lime juice) was brought to a simmer on the stove which releases more liquid so we chose to pack the pint jars with a hand-held sieve, allowing more liquid to drain off.
We chose to seed 1/2 of the jalapeno’s and the other 1/2 we left the seeds in to control heat. If doing multiple batches I would probably do a hot batch and a medium batch.
We didn’t include a sweet pepper, but I believe it would add a nice pepper/Chile flavor to the mix.
If you choose to cold pack the salsa mix I would increase the water bath time to 15 min / pint and 20 min / quart.
@fruitgrower : adjust any and all ingredient ratio’s to your taste!
3 large lemons (I’ve also used Limes before or a mix of Lemons and Limes)
2 Bunches of Cilantro
Dice tomatos, onions and all peppers into about 1/8” cubes and combine in a large mixing bowl.
Chop the Cilantro as finely as you like and add to the mixing bowl.
Squeeze lemons/limes into a small bowl (looking for about ¾ to 1 cup of juice) scrape some of the pulp from the lemons into your mixing bowl. Pour the juice into the mixing bowl through a strainer to filter out the seeds.
Add the minced garlic and vinegar to the mixing bowl
Mix everything thoroughly then put about 1/3 to ½ into your blender and blend to a sauce and then mix back into the bowl.
For an interesting, what I would call a tropical or fruity flavor mince a yellow, orange and red bell pepper into the batch. I like my salsa spicy (I leave the seeds from the hot peppers in) and somewhat chunky(which is why I only blend a portion).
This won’t touch any of the salsa recipes above, but I like this backyard salsa: grab a single cherry tomato off the vine and pinch off a cilantro leaf. Pop in your mouth and instant salsa. Very very basic, but so good. I’ve converted my daughter and she would wander out into the back yard for a bite of salsa. Unfortunately my cilantro bolted early this year, so this didn’t last too long.