I might be a Condiment-aholic. I love-love-love condiments. Especially those with southwest flavors. One of the simplest, oldest and best of the southwest condiments is salsa. I found a wonderful fresh salsa recipe years ago in a cookbook called Jane Butel’s Southwestern Kitchen, her Garden Fresh Salsa (click here). Over the years, I added a little of this and subtracted a little of that, and pretty soon it was my own recipe.
I love to make it in the summer when the garden is overflowing with peppers.
Salsa goes with just about everything!
Here are some of the ways you can use this salsa, in addition to the comfort-food snack of tortilla chips and salsa:
- As a quick sauce for a flat-iron steak
- On grilled meats, grilled fish or grilled vegetables
- Mixed with olive oil and Zippy Southwest (or your favorite spice mix) to make a marinade
- Mixed with cream cheese for a quick spread
- Poured over a goat cheese log for an easy but elegant appetizer, or a brick of cream cheese for a more down-home approach
- Atop poached eggs, toast and bacon for a variation of Eggs Benedict
- As a dollop on top of hot tomato soup – or a dollop atop cold pea soup, alongside sour cream
- Added to ground beef before you shape it into burgers
- As a spread for a southwestern turkey panini or in a grilled cheese sandwich
- Added to cornbread mix to spice it up
- And the obvious – as a required condiment for all sorts of yummy Tex-Mex or Mex-Mex dishes, like quesadillas, tacos, burritos, taquitos, etc.
There’s a long list of ingredients in this recipe, but this salsa comes together quickly.
- 1 bunch of cilantro, washed, ends removed
- Leaves from 4-5 sprigs of fresh oregano
- Leaves from 1 bunch fresh basil (10-15 leaves)
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 whole pickled jalapenos or 2 tbsp sliced pickled jalapenos (choose your desired level of heat)
- 2-6 fresh chile peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 bell pepper, any color, roughly chopped
- ½ Spanish onion, roughly chopped
- 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained (reserve the juice)
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp of honey
- 2 tsp of coarse sea salt
- ¼ tsp cumin
- 1 cup of fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, roughly chopped
Assemble cilantro, oregano, basil, garlic and pickled jalapenos in the food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.
Add the chile peppers, bell pepper and onion and pulse 8-10 times until the additional ingredients are about a medium dice. Add drained tomatoes and pulse about 4 times.
Add lime juice, vinegar, honey, salt, cumin and ½ cup of the reserved juice from the canned tomatoes, then pulse several times. Pour into a medium bowl and then add the chopped fresh tomatoes.
Stir, taste and adjust seasonings, adding more of the reserved juice from the tomatoes if you’d like the consistency to be thinner.
Makes about 5 cups, but doesn’t last long!
You can play with this salsa in all kinds of ways. Substitute cider vinegar for more of an acidic kick, or double the lime juice and leave out the vinegar altogether for a super-fresh citrus taste. Adding a chipotle pepper instead of the pickled jalapeños will give the salsa a sultry smokiness. Leave in the seeds and ribs of the peppers if you want to increase the heat, or toss in a pinch or two of red pepper flakes at the end.
You can serve the salsa immediately, but it’s amazing if you let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour or two and the let it come to room temperature before serving.
Original Copyright 2015, Glover Gardens Cookbook
Updated July 15, 2021
© 2021, Glover Gardens