Friends, Paul and Janece, came for a casual, weekday dinner, and I made my first summer batch of salsa. (Why did I say "casual?" I cannot think of any meal here that is otherwise.) I warned them: "It won't be good until tomorrow," as I sampled the first mouthful. But these are summer tomatoes, and their goodness is already bursting... no need for the flavors to mingle and ripen overnight, and so that first bowl of salsa never saw the inside of our refrigerator. It was good and gone!
So, yesterday I picked a bushel and a peck of tomatoes, with plenty more still on the vines. How many, or much, is a bushel and a peck? I do not know.
Many, at least twenty, years ago, Geoff's mom, Ruth, shared her fresh salsa recipe with me. I still remember the tall mason jar of fresh salsa in her kitchen... delicious! I don't have the recipe any more, not on paper, but I think I have retained the general idea of it. The recipe goes something like this:
Tomatoes, lots of them... happy, sun kissed, garden fresh, heirloom tomatoes!
A red onion... can we agree red onions are purple?
Cilantro... I have these lovelies growing in rows, next to the sunflowers
A can of tomato sauce
Some crushed red pepper
Oh! And some Anaheim peppers, maybe a jalapen-yo (My tilde isn't working. ?Que pasa, Apple?
I am growing Anaheim peppers. I tease Geoff by calling them Chile Relleno plants. I picked two, and roasted them over a gas burner. Once they are blackened, I wrap them in a dishcloth, so the steam will further loosen the skins.
After the peppers cool, I lop off the stems, mince them, and throw them in with all the chopped onions, tomatoes, and about four ounces of tomato sauce. The cilantro is loosely chopped and mingling with all the other goodness. I dashed in some pepper and salt, to taste. That is all. Es todo.
Sometimes an Anaheim can have a little heat, and sometimes I have a jalapen-yo handy. This particular batch of salsa is mild. In fact, the tomatoes are so sun-kissed sweet, the salsa tastes more like a darling tomato jam, than anything picante! And since it has been sitting over night, the flavors have probably mellowed even more, so I may be adding some finely minced jalapen-yo, or a bit more crushed pepper. The main point is: do what you like... the seasonings, and flavors should make you smile, whether it's from the sweet freshness, or fiery freshness, it's your choice.
Anna Banana left me a recipe in her comment, and so today, these tomatoes, and more, will be slow roasting:
Thank you, sweet friends, fellow cooks. Thank you, sweet sun!