We were eating out the other night, and Paleovirtus Jr. decided to venture off-piste, so to speak, and order nachos. According to the menu, they came with guacamole and a tomato salsa.
The chef was, by all accounts, tremendously proud of the salsa, due to the fact that it was “home made”, that is to say it wasn’t a store-bought, out-of-a-jar job.
Curious orange that I am, I had to have a taste. Oh dear.
My guess is that chef had taken some tinned chopped tomatoes, maybe drained a little of the excess liquid from them, splashed in a little Tabasco or similar hot sauce made from a smoked chilli pepper, and then stirred in a little (rather clumsily) chopped garlic.
I suppose it was home made in the strictest sense of the phrase, but, well, you know…
Tactful, overly polite Englishman that I am, I smiled benignly, and said nothing.
I decided there and then, however, that Paleovirtus Jr. and Mrs. Paleovirtus should be reminded as soon as possible what a real salsa should taste and look like.
I came across this recipe in a small Mexican cookbook I bought way back in the 1990s, and have used it without modification ever since.
- 6 plum tomatoes, de-seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced and puréed (see Method)
- a good handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
- 1 very hot birds-eye chilli, seeds left in, very finely chopped
- the zest of a lime, very finely chopped
- the juice of a lime
- freshly ground black pepper
- Once you’ve minced the garlic, you need to purée it. With the minced garlic still on your chopping board, sprinkle it with a little salt, and then work on it with the flat of your chef’s knife’s blade, using a kind of grinding motion. The salt will act as an abrasive, and after a short while, the garlic will turn into a purée. You’ll know it’s right when you can no longer see any lumps of garlic.
- Place the garlic purée, chopped tomatoes, onion, chopped chilli, lime zest, and fresh coriander with pepper to taste in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir well, and put in the fridge for an hour or so, to let the flavours combine.
- Just before serving, take the salsa out of the fridge, and stir in the lime juice. Enjoy with the dish of your choice.