Proof that things don’t have to be complex to taste incredible

Exhibit A: Basic tomato salsa. Every time I make it, I’m pleasantly surprised. And for how many times I’ve made it, this really says more about me and less about the salsa that, although I’ve been given the evidence repeatedly, I still expect a different outcome.

But I digress. There are a mere seven ingredients in this lovely little example of summer food finery, but all you really need to do to prepare it is run your knife through them. You can alter the proportion of each and it would still be tough to mess it up. Basic summer salsa is quite possibly, in my opinion, the pinnacle of what summer food ought to be: easy, fresh, quick, and it definitely shouldn’t require turning on an oven. (Grills are another story.)

Oh yeah — and it should taste great. (Isn’t that a given?)

And just like the recipe, I won’t belabor the story either. Here you go:

Basic tomato salsa
Makes: about 2 cups
1 large tomato, deseeded and diced. Iused a red beefsteak, but you can use purple. Or yellow. Try some heirloom varieties!
1/4 Red onion, minced (probably about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves of garlic, minced (or about 3 tsp if you’re using the jarred stuff)
1 jalapeno, fire-roasted and minced
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
Lime juice from half a lime (2-3 Tbsp)


  1. Fire roast your jalapeno. Skewer the pepper (I used a table fork) and hold it over a medium flame on a gas range, rotating it to heat it evenly, like at a campfire. (If you don’t have a gas range, you might be SOL on the fire roasting, but skip ahead because your salsa will still be good!). When you’re satisfied with its level of roastedness (ideally it will have a mostly-scorched skin), remove it from heat and seal it in a Ziplok baggie. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes, or until the skin peels off the meat easily.
  2. Prepare the rest of your ingredients (chopping, mincing, and squeezing).
  3. When the jalapeno is ready, peel it and finely mince it.
  4. Mix all of the ingredients together.
  5. Serve with chips and beer. The Red Hook ESB tasted particularly delicious with it!

About Sara