Simple to make and nutritious, salsa is a great pantry item to have on hand for snacks, meals and for forming the base of sauces, soups and chili. I make my own once or twice a week using fresh tomatoes in summer or canned in winter.
Need a quick meal? Saute chicken rubbed with salt, pepper and cumin just until browned on both sides. Then pour in a cup or two of salsa, cover and let braise in the liquid on low until cooked through. Serve with freshly steamed veggies, rice or shred the chicken for taco night!
One 14 ounce can whole or diced tomatoes in juice, or 2 cups peeled seeded fresh tomatoes with juice (don’t strain them and collect any juices from them in a bowl)
1-2 fresh or dried stemmed cayenne or jalapeno peppers, or a variety of peppers
Juice of half a lemon
handful of rinsed, fresh cilantro
Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and puree. Taste and adjust salt, if necessary.
This winter I’ve been using dried cayenne peppers from my summer pepper crop, you can use any variety of pepper you prefer. Using several different varieties of peppers will give it more depth of flavor. Adjust the amount you use based on your preferred heat level.
Remember, the seeds and membrane contain a lot of the heat so if you are using hot peppers you might consider removing them. Always use gloves when handling hot peppers and keep hands away from your eyes.
If you goof and make your salsa too hot, simply stir in some extra tomato puree to dilute the heat. Adjust seasoning and sweeten with a little more lemon juice, if needed.
Have family or friends who don’t like cilantro? Substitute another fresh green herb like basil or parsley. I have even used fresh arugula on occasion just to give it a lovely “green” flavor.