Every summer when I see the farmer’s markets brimming with all types of fresh tomatoes, I remember my Grandma’s vegetable garden that was along the river bank on her farm. These little cherry tomatoes were the base for so many dishes at the ranch. They add a unique flavor to the sauce that other tomatoes can’t give; their sweetness paired with the spiciness of the peppers make a wonderful combination. The orange, red, and yellow colors look really pretty in a salad, but my grandmother used them for many other dishes in her everyday cooking. This salsa is a base for the endless meals she prepared using these types of tomatoes.
If you’ve ever picked tomatoes straight from the plant, you’re familiar with the smell that is released by the plant and its foliage. It’s quite an amazing aroma! Just a little sniff and it takes me back to my childhood. I remember walking along with my grandmother, with the river bank and acres of banana trees on one side, and the corn field where we also planted beans on the other. She would always be wearing her apron, as it also served as a carrying vessel. When she was at the edge of the river picking the vegetables needed for lunch, she would place them in her apron and hold the bundle with her hands. My grandmother had dozens of grand kids, so it was very special for me to spend some time alone with her, picking tomatoes and vegetables surrounded by nature.
MAKES 2 CUPS
- 1 Lb small garden tomatoes (cherry tomatoes)
- 3 cups of water
- 2 jalapeno peppers or 4 serrano peppers
- ¼ of a white onion (about 2 oz)
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Salt to season
- You can use a combination of several types of tomatoes for this salsa, but cooking times will vary.
1. Place peppers, onion, and garlic clove in a saucepan, cover with water and turn heat to medium high. Once the water starts boiling, turn down the heat to precook the peppers. The tomatoes are so small that they require less cooking time. When you see that the peppers are almost cooked (about 8 to 10 minutes), add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool for a little while before placing into the blender. Do not discard the cooking liquid.
2. Once the tomatoes and peppers have cooled a little, place the peppers, onion, and garlic into the blender. Process for a few seconds in the lower setting just to get a chunky texture. Then, add the tomatoes and half a cup of the cooking water. Turn the blender on again for a few seconds to get the same consistency as the peppers.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Once it’s hot, pour the sauce, and when it starts boiling add an extra half cup of the cooking liquid. Season with salt, stir, and simmer at a low heat for about 5 minutes.
Check again in case it needs more salt. If you are using it as a table sauce, you can add a little bit more of the cooking liquid.
Check again in case it needs more salt. If needed, you can add a little bit more of the cooking liquid.
Do you like this type of tomatoes? If you have a special way to cook them, please share your ideas.