An easy, homemade salsa recipe, that tastes eerily similar to the beloved Tex-Mex restaurant Chuy’s famous salsa fresca.
If you have ever been mystified as to how to make homemade salsa taste as good as your favorite Mexican restaurant’s, you are in the right place. This salsa is simple and straightforward to make. It requires only a bit of chopping and a little blending.
WHAT IS IN FRESH SALSA
The tomatoes you choose for fresh salsa play a pretty large role in the flavor. Most tomato varieties tend to get grainy and dull in flavor outside of the summer months, but Campari and Vine-Ripened tomatoes are great options for salsa, as they tend to keep both a more vibrant color and flavor even outside of tomato season. If you can’t find either of those, go with Roma tomatoes.
TIPS FOR WORKING WITH FRESH TOMATOES
Cutting tomatoes is made easier by the use of either a serrated knife or a very sharp knife. Specifically, I use a serrated paring knife for working with tomatoes.
To remove the seeds from a tomato quickly, slice off the stem end, cut the tomato in half and turn it upside down over the sink or a bowl. Applying a gentle amount of pressure, squeeze the tomato and shake until the seeds fall out. You may need to use your fingers to break apart the inner cavity and release the seeds.
Chopped onions are a main ingredient of salsas, and for good reason. Onions offer a great deal of flavor, and round out the other ingredients.
LIME AND/OR RICE WINE VINEGAR
Next, the acid. Chuy’s? Anybody ever heard of Chuy’s salsa fresca? Rice wine vinegar is commonly found in salsa fresca, and I do believe it is Chuy’s secret weapon. A small amount of rice wine vinegar goes a long, long way. If you’re not into the whole “vinegar in my salsa” thing, that’s perfectly fine. Just stick with the lime juice and all will be well.
Now, onto the jalapeno. The number of hot peppers (and particularly pepper seeds) used in your salsa are going to affect the heat level. To break it down even further, use more peppers for a fiery hot salsa, use fewer peppers for a more mild version.
Cilantro is an essential ingredient in making fresh salsa. Do not mistake the Italian parsley for cilantro! Cilantro’s leaves are much more rounded and not quite as pointed as the parsley. Also, you’ll notice is it the much more fragrant of the two.
HOW TO MAKE FRESH SALSA
Making homemade, fresh salsa is really very simple. If you happen to have a blender or food processor on hand, the vegetables need only to be roughly chopped before going in for a spin.
After the vegetables have been chopped, all that’s left is to gather up the rest of your ingredients, along with your blender or food processor, and slam out a super easy, homemade restaurant-style salsa. Enjoy!
- 1 pound tomatoes seeded and roughly chopped
- 1/2 red onion chopped
- 4 jalapenos seeded (if desired) and chopped
- 1/3 cup cilantro roughly chopped
- Juice of 1 1/2 limes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon rice wine vinegar optional
Add the tomatoes, red onion, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, salt, cumin, garlic powder and rice wine vinegar (if using) to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until a chunky puree has formed. Transfer to a bowl and serve right away, or to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to five days.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.