Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest


Roasted Tomato Salsa Tastes Good & You Can Dance To It

You gotta love something that you can both dance to and eat.

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Tomatoes are ripening in the back yard, especially the Fourth of July’s, a handful of Sundgolds, Green Zebra and Muskovites – bins at Farmers Markets are overflowing. The first and best thing to do with a ripe tomato is to pick it and eat it, right then and there.

After that turn up the music and make salsa. cherries & tomatoes 12

Jerry Traunfeld’s Roasted Tomato Salsa is all about tomatoes and fresh herbs with a little jalapeno and onion thrown in. I’ve made this recipe many times, and, as I’ve come to expect from The Herbfarm Cookbook, it’s sensational but simple to make. Intended to embellish flank steak (and it really is perfect with steak), it’s more versatile than that. A few weeks ago I made this salsa without its key ingredient – oxymoronic, I know, roasted tomato salsa without its tomatoes, but it worked out – and used it as a dressing to make a farro salad . There are other possibilities: bake it/serve it with halibut, use as a dressing with rice, farro, or pasta, as a dip with your favorite chip, add fresh roasted corn off the cob and add it all to a pile of salad greens, diminish or eliminate the mint and serve with roasted chicken (it might be fine with the mint, not sure) . . . for dinner tonight I’ll toss this salsa with a bowl of rice and we’ll have it along with a piece of Alaskan Coho. Tomatoes, herbs, onion, jalapeno, all Pacific Northwest produce straight from the garden plot or the farmer’s field, and in season right now.

Roasted Tomato & Herb Salsa The Herbfarm Cookbook (Jerry Traunfeld)

1 pound ripe plum tomatoes (about 6 large) Though plum tomatoes are ideal, I’ve used others, especially cherry tomatoes, which have been a fine substitute.

1 T olive oil

¼ t salt

1 t sugar

2 T minced onion

1 – 2 t seeded and finely chopped jalapeno.

¼ cup shredded fresh spearmint leaves

2 T coarsely chopped fresh marjoram and parsley

2 T red wine vinegar

Roast tomatoes: Cut tomatoes in half, toss with the olive oil, salt and sugar; roast with the cut side up in a 450º oven for about 15 minutes, or until skin shrivels and tomato begins to collapse. Personally, I like roasting them until they start to brown and caramelize.

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Coarsely dice cooled tomatoes and toss with the remaining ingredients. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before serving.

The roasted tomatoes and the mint add an unusual kick to this salsa. In the off-season I use whatever herbs I can get my hands on, more or less of this and that. This is a model for a salsa that’s a little different. More salsas coming soon, keep your dancin’ shoes on.

This Wikipedia piece emphasizes the multi-ethnic background of salsa and its culinary possibilities.

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3 Responses »

  1. That salsa is beautiful and looks delicious! Did you do anything special to get ripe tomatoes now? Mine are just starting to set fruit, even the Glacier tomato, and ripeness seems far away.

  2. Audrey, I think we have sixteen tomato plants so, yes, we have tomatoes coming on & they’re delicious, but nothing like previous years. If weather stays warm we might have plenty in August, but we wonder . . . Bob has a couple of tomato-growing tricks. Maybe he’ll share.

  3. Audrey, I have a couple of things I do that help the tomatoes to ripen earlier. They need more heat than we have in Seattle especially in late spring/early summer. I’ve been buying my plants at the West Seattle Farmer’s Market, and this year I asked Billie how late in the spring he would be selling plants, then purchased them towards the end of that time (ie, later is better, when the ground is warmer). This year it was May 18 for me, and its been as late as early June.

    I planted the plants right away, laid drip irrigation down, then covered the ground with red permeable plastic. The plastic keeps the weeds down, conserves moisture, helps warm the soil, maybe helps keep the plants from getting blight, and the red is supposed to help the plants set fruit earlier. As an experiment I put it under one of two beds one year and it did make a difference. You can buy the red plastic at many nurseries, garden stores, or order from Territorial Seeds.

    I build a large cloche for the plants. I planted 16 plants this year, in two beds approx 4-5′ wide and 10-12 feet long. There is a good website for cloche building at:
    I do mine a little differently. I use 1/4′ x 18″ rebar for stakes that I drive into the ground then put the pvc tubing over the stakes. This way I can raise the cloche a little as the plants grow. also tie a piece of pvc tubing lengthwise at the center/highpoint of the hoops to stabilize the structure. I use 4ml plastic, and I use the cloche clips ordered from Territorial Seeds. I keep the cloche over the plants until they are bursting out of it. I put remay or a similar floating row cover at one end of each cloche as the weather warmed up so I wouldn’t have to open and close it every day. I also went ahead and put tomato cages on the toms under the cloche.

    You can leave the pvc frame up til the end of the season, use it in various ways to support the toms. Then it is easy to disassemble and store til next spring.

    So the secret: plastic! on the ground all season, and over the plants as long as possible. Fortunately the plastic lasts for a few years. Your plants will love you and your neighbors will be envious. Enjoy!