Easy Homemade Salsa Fresca


Have you ever gone to a "certain" Tex/Mex restaurant and gorged yourself silly on the salsa and chips they bring 'round to your table? If we are speaking truths here, I must confess that I have but there is something special about the fresh flavours of that salsa that will bring out the glutton in me every time!

I decided to make my own version of this restaurant style salsa so that I could indulge anytime I want and also because who really needs to deal with eyebrow raising wait staff?! I get hungry ya know!!

To make this easy "south of the border" condiment, you will need 2 cans of whole plum tomatoes ( I used "San Marzano"), 1 green bell pepper, 1 small (or 1/2 of a large) sweet onion, 1 lime, 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, 1 jalapeno pepper, a bunch of fresh cilantro, white pepper, salt, granulated sugar and white vinegar.

First, prepare your vegetables by de-seeding and roughly chopping up the green bell and jalapeno peppers and onion... (I place my hand in a Ziploc bag to avoid getting the juice of the hot pepper on my skin...I'm kind of a wimp that way) peel the garlic cloves and pick the leaves off of the stems from bunch of fresh cilantro to equal about 1 cup (more or less depending on your taste for cilantro!)...then cut the lime in half.

Next, you will need 2 (796 ml. or 28 fl.oz.) cans of whole plum tomatoes...I like the flavour of these "San Marzano" tomatoes...they are sweeter and apparently are low acid as well...who knew?!

These tomatoes are not packed in water but in puree...I drain them so my salsa is not too watery...you can keep the puree if you like or drain and keep the liquid and add it to pasta sauce or soups (I was too lazy to save it but the idea made me sound less wasteful!).

Layer the chopped peppers, onion, garlic cloves...

...and cilantro into the bowl of your food processor with the standard "S" shaped blade.

Next, squeeze the juice of both lime halves into the mixture...

...then, add in the salt, white pepper, vinegar and granulated sugar.

Toss the drained tomatoes (or undrained if you choose) on top of the mixture and fasten on the lid.

Pulse the food processor to mince up the ingredients...

...stopping every couple of presses to stir...you do not want the bottom pureed too much while the top ingredients are left in chunks.

Keep processing until the salsa is the right consistency for you...we like ours like this, not too chunky.

...and just like that, from the comfort of your own home, restaurant style Salsa Fresca (which is really just a fancy way of saying "fresh salsa" but I thought it made me sound more worldly!) Serve with tortilla chips, on tacos, burritos, fajitas...the world is your Mexican food oyster!

Easy Homemade Salsa Fresca

2 (796 ml. or 28 fl.oz) cans of whole plum tomatoes (I like the "San Marzano" variety), drained

1 green bell pepper (de-seeded and roughly chopped)

1 jalapeno pepper (de-seeded and roughly chopped) * omit or add more depending on your taste

1 small or half of a large sweet onion (roughly chopped)

5 or 6 large garlic cloves (peeled)

1 lime (cut in half)

1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves (more or less depending on your cilantro taste!)

1 & 1/2 tsp.'s of salt

1/2 tsp. of white pepper

3 tsp.'s of granulated sugar

2 tsp.'s of white vinegar

1. Toss the chopped green and jalapeno peppers, onion, garlic cloves and cilantro into the bowl of a food processor with the "s" shaped blade attached.

2. Add in the salt, pepper, sugar and white vinegar and squeeze in the juice of both lime halves...then add the drained tomatoes on top.

3. Pulse the food processor and mince the mixture, stopping every couple of pulses to scrape down the sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Repeat steps until the salsa has reached desired consistency.

Eat salsa right away or store in glass mason jars in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight until the flavours have blended nicely...enjoy!

* black pepper can be used instead of white pepper if you don't have any white on hand.

* all ingredients can be adjusted to suit your taste (ie. salt, jalapeno peppers, sugar etc.)

* makes about 5 cups of salsa

* store leftovers in the fridge for up to one week

* if you don't have a food processor, you can use a food chopper or chop the vegetables by hand...it will be just a little more chunky but still delish!