Tomatoes, More Tomatoes!

Tomato season is truly upon us. I know, this blog featured tomatoes last week as well! But I just went out into my garden to gather what is waiting to be picked this morning, and the colors and tastes are just too nice! See photo above for the results. I will do some canning, mostly just plain tomatoes rather than sauce. But most of what comes from the garden will be eaten fresh, because now is the season, short and sweet! Tomato sandwiches, tomato salads, salsas…
So, either go pick some or get some from a friend or buy some local ones at a farm stand or from the supermarket, and enjoy.

Tomatoes often make me think of latin foods, of piles of tomatoes in vegetable markets in Mexico or Chile, and of a style of salsa (literally “sauce” in Spanish) that is common to both countries.
In Mexico, Salsa Mexicana, (or Pico de Gallo) is made from about equal parts (say 1/2 C each) finely chopped Tomatoes, Onions, and Cilantro. Add some salt, and of course hot peppers if you wish. I usually add lemon or lime juice as well. Very simple, and amazingly good on beans, rice, quesadillas, and meats, and of course as a dip for Tortilla chips! Note that the three vegetables are the same colors as the Mexican flag!
In Chile, It is often called Pebre. Many Chilean cooks would also soak the chopped onion in water for a half hour or so, then drain, to remove some of the sharpness. In that country olive oil would be added as well, and lemon juice most definitely, each at least a few tablespoons, again hot peppers optional. And maybe vinegar. And cumin. Also used as a dip in Chile, for bread. And as a sauce on grilled meats.
The key preparation step with any style salsa is to chop all vegetable ingredients very fine. If you are not yet handy with a kitchen knife, you could use a food processor for a few seconds, but do not turn the salsa into mush! A bit of crunch is important! And while you are crunching and munching, think about what an indulgent yet healthy food this is, with all that fiber and vitamin content!

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