A jar packed with freshly tossed salsa, full of juicy ripe tomatoes and aromatic flavours, is easy to make and easy to enjoy. Sweet tomatoes, sour limes, aromatic herbs, salt and spicy pepper all balance each other in a vibrant harmony of tastes. A good salsa doesn’t ruin your day with too much spicy heat; it brightens it with just enough.
Yield: Makes about 2 cups
2 or 3 ripe local tomatoes, finely chopped
1 red onion, minced
1 chili pepper, minced
1 bunch chopped cilantro
1 or 2 limes, zest and juice
a big splash best olive oil
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
a sprinkle or two salt
Toss everything together in a bowl until well combined.
Garden tomatoes have the most flavourwhen they’re in season. If they’re not, look for organic or vine-attached types, take them home and ripen them for a few days on a sunny windowsill. In a pinch, a small can of whole tomatoes is more flavourful than a few hard unripe ones and will add lots of deep, rich tomato flavour.
There are many types of chili peppers, each with its own heat level and flavour. I prefer medium heat varieties like poblano and jalapeÃ±o. You may substitute chili peppers with freshly grated ginger. Cilantro is the classic fresh herb in salsa, but basil, oregano and even parsley work well too. The sweet pungency of a red onion is a great replacement for the green onions. You can save some time by tossing everything into your food processor. The colour will be a bit dark but the results will still taste great.
A traditional pesto genovese is made with loads of fresh basil, but by no means do you have to stick by tradition. This version has been jazzed up with pungent sun-dried tomatoes. Pesto means paste, and it can have infinite variations based on what inspires you. Switch up the nuts or cheese, add some herbs or spices, or zip it up with some hot sauce.
Commercial chocolate sauces are a pale imitation of the real thing and usually don’t include any real chocolate. An old-school batch of real chocolate sauce is easy to make, easy to use and an easy way to saturate any treat with lots of rich, true, chocolate flavour. Try not to eat too much of this sauce straight out of the jar!