Jersey Tomato Salsa
You think your tomatoes are better than the ones we grow here in Jersey?
Our little state grows some of the best the world has to offer. Residents here at the Jersey Shore anticipate the tomato harvest impatiently, and backyard gardeners bubble with joy speaking of their first ripe tomatoes of the season. I wonder if it has a clue how much it is adored.
Of the many ways to highlight the flavor of this savory fruit, one of my favorite things to transform these beauties into is salsa. It's great served over grilled chicken or scooped onto tortilla chips (my personal favorite). No matter how you serve it, it's perfect on a hot summer day.
I've had a lot of requests for this salsa over the years. I've done my best to formulate a recipe for you at the bottom of this page, but it's really more about using your sense of smell and 'eyeballing' things.
Here's what I do:
I start with as many ripe tomatoes as I have. I cut them into 3 or 4 thick slices and then remove most of the seeds and juice (too much juice results in watery salsa). Then I cut the flesh into small chunks of half an inch or less, and put them in a non-reactive bowl (*see note in recipe below).
Next, I dice white onion and add a little at a time until the proportion seems right. To me that means 2 or 3 bits of onion per small spoonful. Go easy and be sure to add the onion slowly in smaller amounts. Too much onion will overpower the salsa. A way to gauge it is to smell the bowl. If it smells mostly of tomatoes with a hint of onion to it, you're on the right track.
I add the jalapeños next, again adding small amounts at a time until I have just the right amount of heat. Somewhere between 1 and 4 pieces per spoonful is usually good for me. Be mindful that if you will be serving it to children you may want to stick to 1 piece per scoop.
I don't include the seeds of the pepper (which are too hot) or the ribs (which are bitter) for my taste.
Next, I squeeze the juice of 2 or 3 lime slices into the bowl, until I can just detect the lime when I take a big sniff.
Then I add about 1 teaspoon of salt and mix together. I smell the salsa again, and add more salt if necessary, until it's perfect. For me, I know I've added enough salt when it just begins to smell like a jar of store bought salsa.
Stick it in the fridge for an hour or so and then dig in.
For those of you who prefer more precise measurements, I recorded exactly what I used in this last batch below. It turned out awesome. It gets even better after sitting over night, so I can't wait to bring it to the beach tomorrow. My mouth is already watering at the thought of breathing in the thick, briny ocean air while I dive into my first bite.
Jersey Tomato Salsa Recipe
Sharp knife and cutting board aside, the only equipment you need for this recipe is a non-reactive bowl. Tomatoes are highly acidic and will take on a metallic taste when mixed in an aluminum or copper bowl; and may stain plastic. Glass, stainless steel, glazed ceramic, and silicone are all good choices.
- 4 small, ripe organic tomatoes, chopped 1/2 inch or smaller
- 1/4 cup of organic white onion, diced small
- 1 tbsp diced organic jalapeño peppers
- 1 handful of fresh organic cilantro, chopped
- Juice of half an organic lime
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine all ingredients (see notes above recipe). Mix well. Salt to taste. Refrigerate for an hour before serving. Enjoy!
Chip selection can help your salsa if you've accidentally been heavy-handed with the salt — you can buy unsalted chips to help balance things out. Personally, I prefer white corn chips over yellow. I think it complements the flavor better. There are several brands on the market which are 8SAFE, one of which is Garden of Eatin' Restaurant Style White Chips.