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