Making Fresh Salsa

by Ed Lau on August 20, 2007


I was told to make a couple appetizers for a friend’s birthday barbaque this weekend. Most of the appetizers I know how to make don’t really fit in with barbaque food so I thought I’d keep it simple and whip up a batch of salsa fresca.

Contrary to popular belief, salsa shouldn’t be the consistency of ketchup, which is basically what you get when you buy a jar of the store bought stuff. Sure it may have some chunks of tomato and peppers in it but most of the time, you’re buying an absurdly expensive version of ketchup. It’s also full of salt, sometimes sugar and preservatives so needless to say, it’s probably not great for you. What I’m making, however, is near sodium free, zero preservatives and basically just a lot of fresh vegetables.

Here’s what I use. Scale up or down as necessary. I made about 2.5x this for about 20 people so you could say this would be enough for a snack for eight.

  • 8 tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 large yellow pepper
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lime
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • pinch of sea salt
  • tablespoon of olive oil
  • minced jalapenos to taste


Select relatively firm tomatoes so that your salsa doesn’t get mushy. I usually get about 6 firm tomatoes and maybe 3 softer roma tomatoes. Remove the seeds and chop into small cubes.


Do the same with the onion and peppers and mix everything in a large bowl. Don’t be afraid to use your hands here (but do wash them first…). Cook half to 3/4 of a cup of corn in boiling water. Frozen corn is fine.


After draining the corn, toss it all onto a dry skillet at medium-low heat until the excess water is gone and the corn starts to get lightly browned. You can, of course, grill corn on your barbaque but that takes a lot longer. Add two minced cloves of garlic and a handful of finely chopped cilantro. Squeeze in the juice of one lime. You can also add some minced jalapenos if you like your salsa with a little (or a lot) of heat. I usually put in about two for every 8 tomatoes.


Mix in a pinch of salt and refrigerate for about 4-6 hours, at which time you’ll probably want to drain out about half to 3/4 of the liquid all the ingredients have released. Put it in a tupperware container and shake it up before serving with tortilla chips.

I also tried making something different over the weekend as well but I didn’t have time to make it before I had to go. Basically, it’s a roasted red pepper toasted flatbread. Usually people use roasted red peppers from jars but I don’t see why you would buy something like that when you can easily make it yourself. Just pour a bit of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper onto strips of red peppers, mix and put directly onto the rack of your oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn your oven off and let them sit in there for about another 10.

Roasted Red Peppers

Brush some flatbread (I’m using some naan here) with olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt and put it on the rack of your oven. Take it out after it’s a bit toasted but still soft and cover in a layer of provolone cheese. Cover with red peppers and some more cheese and back into the oven. You’ll end up with something like this. Provolone is a really mild, melt able cheese, the bread should be really crispy and the red peppers are really sweet after roasting.

Roasted Red Peppers

in Food and Fine Dining

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosie August 20, 2007 at 4:24 pm

I had no idea you were such a chef!! The salsa looks tasty!


Matt Propst August 20, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Wow! Great post! It made me hungry!


Derrich August 21, 2007 at 8:14 am

So starving, Ed. If you want some real salsa, though, come to San Antonio. I’ll show you.

Ok…all pride aside, that salsa does look pretty yummy.


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