There’s something inherently amusing about the way people can fixate en-masse over aspects of the weather. When I lived in Cambridge, the first week of the bitterly cold winter would inevitably result in a new kind of greeting, an urban myth which would be repeated again and again, as if just saying it would make you feel warmer. “Cold, isn’t it?”, “It’s the wind – there are no mountains between here and Siberia you know”. I don’t know whether the wind actually came from Siberia (I suspect not), but somehow it was certainly consoling to think that it might.
Fortunately in Ireland of late, conversation has taken a different bent, with all attention focused on the ‘Azores high’, which has resulted in some unusual (even unseasonable?) warm weather. As someone who hedged my bets with a brisk dip in the Irish sea back in May, because sometimes that’s the only summer we get, I’m out to make the most of it. In this, salsa is an essential accompaniment. Great as a dip with tortillas taking the place of a starter at impromptu barbeques, or you can add jalapeños and guacamole (to follow) and Gourmet Burger it up for a Mexican twist to your meal. And it’s not only cheaper than buying pre-made salsa, it’s dead simple and much tastier, without that gloopy texture that’s so typical of store-bought varieties.
For this recipe, you need either a food processor, or a handheld blender.
The quantities here make about two bowls of salsa. You can half the recipe if you want, though it keeps surprisingly well in the fridge (probably 3 – 4 days).
2 tins chopped tomatoes, drained
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 spring onions
1 red pepper
1 chilli – the amount of chilli will need to be adjusted dependant on your taste, as well as the variety of chilli. I find one chilli is usually best if making this for other people. If I’m just making this for my family I’d use 2, as we all like our food quite spicy.
Juice of 1 lime
Generous handful fresh coriander
1. Cut the cucumber and red pepper into chunks. Slice the garlic and spring onions and finely chop the chilli.
2. Combine all the ingredients (bar the tabasco) in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse for about 10 seconds. Stir, then pulse again – you’re aiming for a slightly chunky, rather than smooth, consistency. [If you used whole, rather than chopped tomatoes, you may need to spoon off some excess liquid at this stage, as its harder to drain them initially].
3. Taste for seasoning, adding tabasco for a spicy kick if desired.