No more store-bought jars! Making fresh salsa is so easy. | Restaurant Reviews | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

No more store-bought jars! Making fresh salsa is so easy.

Especially now, as we head into fresh, local vegetable season

They say salsa has bested ketchup as America's favorite condiment, and shelves of salsa at the supermarket attest to its growing popularity. But even the best jarred salsa can't match up to fresh salsa (and the worst jarred salsa tastes like slightly spicy, lumpy red salt sauce).

Making your own salsa is easy and tasty, especially now as we head into fresh, local vegetable season. Salsa is a great way to use up those super-ripe tomatoes that are like red-water bombs.

All you need is a bowl, a knife, a cutting board and a few minutes. Homemade salsa is also very adaptable: You can use a variety of similar ingredients.

For a basic tomato-based salsa, chop up fresh tomatoes, or use a can of diced tomatoes, liquid and all. (I have, in a pinch, cut up whole canned tomatoes.) If you prefer thicker, more-tomatoey salsa, add a tiny can of tomato sauce. Chop up and add to bowl: onion (red, yellow or green), garlic, jalapeño pepper and fresh cilantro. If desired, add salt, pepper and oregano (fresh is best, but dry will do) to taste.

Stir together, and let mellow in fridge for a bit (can be skipped if you need to get your chip-n-dip on ASAP). It's that simple, and a batch of salsa will keep for several days in the fridge.

After you've mastered this basic party-pleaser, experiment with more exotic salsas that use smoked or roasted ingredients, tropical fruit or tomatillos. 

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