Simple Salsa

Simple Salsa is my friend. It’s a fruit, it’s a vegetable (ok, technically it’s just a fruit because it has seeds, but don’t get all technical on me–the USDA considers it a vegetable so that’s good enough!)

It’s savory and spicy and just everything good! It’s also always there for me, as my fridge is rarely without a batch. In the summer, I make huge batches with the bright red, ripe, juicy, in-season tomatoes—pretty much any kind—and freeze them in ziplock bags for later. Just thaw and strain to remove any excess water, and the taste and texture are still terrific! You can dip tortilla chips in it, spoon it over omlettes, make a big old plate of melted cheese nachos and pour it on, or top a filet of fluffy white fish with it for a spicy zing.

In the 80s, a favorite supermodel of mine was Kelly Emberg. She’s a passionate gardener, and posted a YouTube video on making a Simple Salsa, which where I got this recipe. I just adjusted it to my taste: it’s a bit less liquidy, a little more garlicky, and a touch less scorching. The jalepeños have been HOT the last couple of years!  My friends and family all love this salsa as much as I do, and it’s always a hit at get-togethers:  my job is to being the Simple Salsa and chips!

And it’s SO easy: if you can remember 4-3-2-1, you can make it too!


4 large tomatoes, any kind (if any are Roma tomatoes, use two in place of one)
3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled (or 3 jalepenos if you want the original, very hot version)
2 jalepeno peppers (or 2 fat cloves of garlic if you’re making the original, very hot version)
1 tsp of salt or to taste


Blender or Similar (a Magic Bullet is fine)
Large Frying Pan
Fine-mesh Large Strainer
Big Bowl
Tongs are helpful

1. Heat a large frying pan on high, and put in the jalepenos, turning as the skin forms blackened blisters. While the peppers are blackening, slice your tomatoes in 1.5” wedges, removing the tough stem core. If you have a gas stove, you can also roast the jalepenos over an open flame. (It’s like toasting marshmallows, except I wouldn’t recommend using them in s’mores.)
2. Remove the peppers to your cutting board. Place all the tomatoes skin down on the hot frying pan. Turn the frying pan off but leave it on the heat.
3. Cut the stems off the jalepeno peppers. Seed them if you are a heat wimp. Pulse the peppers and the garlic in a blender or similar until finely minced.
4. Check your tomatoes. The skins should have blackened areas on them. Put all the tomatoes in the blender too, along with the salt, and puree the whole mixture until it’s all well-blended.

5. Put the strainer over a bowl and pour the entire mixure into the strainer. Stir until it’s the consistency that you like.  If you want to use the water to make a spicy stock or spicy rice, go for it!
This will keep in the fridge a surprising length of time at (least 10 days), but it won’t last that long!

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