A stroll through my local farmers market last weekend reminded me that it’s a perfect time to make salsa. The tomatoes on all the vendors’ stalls looked fabulous and were plentiful.
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Today’s recipe calls for plum tomatoes (also known as Roma tomatoes), but any variety will do. Popular Michigan tomatoes include beef steak, big boy, yellow pear, grape, and cherry.
You will likely find heirloom tomatoes too. They have become very popular in recent years and are known for their stunning color palette (red, pink, green, purple, yellow, and orange) and deep flavor. Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Oxheart, Rutgers, and Amish Paste are a few varieties that you may stumble across.
We roasted the tomatoes for our salsa recipe. A little time in the oven will concentrate their flavor and sweetness by wicking away excess moisture. This is a great tomato cooking tip to keep in mind for the rest of the year when the taste of tomatoes could use a little help.
A staple of the Mediterranean diet, tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, along with iron, potassium, and fiber. To avoid bruising, put them in a single layer. Store tomatoes at room temperature for maximum flavor. If you’re storing them for more than a few days, especially in hot climates, put them in the warmest part of the refrigerator.
What I love most about salsa recipes is their versatility. Our recipe is pretty simple (tomatoes, peppers, onions, herbs, and spices) and is a great place to start if you want to experiment with additional ingredients.
If you’re looking for something sweet, add diced pineapple, mango, or peaches to our recipe. For a more chunky salsa, stir in toasted corn kernels or black beans.
If you need to adjust the heat, use different peppers. Peperoncini and banana peppers are extremely mild and slightly sweet. Anaheim, poblano and anchopaprika ensure a mild spiciness. Medium-hot peppers include jalapeno, serrano, and hot waxy peppers. If you can eat super hot peppers, scotch bonnet or habanero might be just your thing. Remember that the inner ribs and seeds of the bell pepper add the heat.
Darlene Zimmerman is a registered nutritionist with the Heart & Vascular Institute at Henry Ford Hospital. If you have any questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.
Fried tomato salsa
Serves: 12 (⅓ cup) servings / Preparation time: 20 minutes / Total time: 40 minutes (plus cooling time)
10 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 green pepper, quartered
½ red onion, quartered, plus 1/4 cup finely diced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Cooking spray made from parchment paper or vegetable oil
⅓ cup of chopped coriander
2 tablespoons of chopped jalapeno pepper
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons of lime juice
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
1 tablespoon of sugar
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
½ teaspoon of salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, green peppers and quartered onion pieces with olive oil. Pour the vegetables onto a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake without a lid for 20 to 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Take out of the oven and let cool completely.
Put fried vegetables in a blender or food processor. Cover and process until everything is mixed but still slightly lumpy. Transfer the salsa to a large glass bowl and add the coriander, ¼ cup finely diced red onion, jalapeno pepper, garlic, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. Chill for at least 1 hour so that the flavors can mix. Stir well before serving.
Chef’s Note: This salsa goes well with baked tortilla chips or as a vegetable dip. It’s also a delicious accompaniment to chicken or fish.
Created by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, for Heart Smart®.
43 Calories (21% of fat), 1 gram fat (0 grams sat. fat, 0 grams Trans fats), 8 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 88 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 18 mg calcium, 2 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 2 vegetables.
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