Whizbang Summer Salsa

When it comes to homemade salsa, in high tomato season, anyway, I’m usually more of a pico de gallo gal.

Finely diced fresh tomato, onion, garlic, and pepper, finished with a little lime, salt, and cilantro. No cooking, but lots and lots of chopping.

Last week, though, I saw Deb Perelman’s post on a three-ingredient salsa: Tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeños briefly broiled together, then buzzed in a blender. That’s it. No mincing, no dicing, no peeling. That’s appealing. Especially when I already have three kitchen projects on the docket for my “day off.”

So with a handful of meaty, Opalka beauties screaming to be used TODAY, I gave it a whirl.


Whizz. Bang. Salsa.

Wow. You could mess with this in a whole lot of ways. Grill instead of broil; add corn or beans or squash or peaches or mangoes or pineapple; whir in some chipotle en adobo at the end. Customize away.

2 for 1
It’s a two-fer. I split the batch, adding kernels from a leftover ear of grilled corn to half.
Whizbang Summer Salsa

Takes 15 minutes, max, and makes about 2 cups of salsa. I prefer the texture of plum or paste tomatoes here (fewer seeds and less jelly makes for a richer, heartier salsa), but you could definitely use slicers instead. Just be sure to squeeze out some of the gooey seed gel before you broil. 

  • 6-8 large plum or paste tomatoes (I had about a 1.5 pounds), trimmed of the stem and halved
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper (more or less, since Some Like it Hot—and some don’t), halved and seeded
  • half a large white onion, cut into large chunks
  • salt, to taste
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or grilled (optional)
  • handful of cilantro, chopped (optional)

Turn on your broiler (I used the top-most rack position, but depending on how big your tomatoes are and on how powerful your own oven is, you may need to lower it a bit).

Arrange the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and onions in a single layer on a foil-covered sheet or roasting pan. Sprinkle a little salt over everything.

No Filter
Bar none, these Opalkas are the reddest paste tomato I’ve ever grown. No filter, no manipulation here. Brilliant.

Broil for 4-5 minutes, rotating the pan midway through. At this point, pull out and set aside any bits that are already nicely charred.

After Five
After 5 minutes, I pulled out one of the jalapeño halves and about a third of the onions.

Return the pan to the broiler, and cook for another 4-6 minutes, until everything looks toasty but not burnt.

After Ten
Here we are after ten minutes.

Load everything into a blender or food processor (don’t forget any bits you set aside after Round One). Carefully pulse until you get the consistency you like. I go for a fairly chunky texture, but if you like it thinner, by all means zap away (or even add a little water if you need to).

Let it cool a bit, then squeeze in the lime juice. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and mix in the cilantro and any other add-ons you like.

Summer Salsa
Less than 15 minutes to make, and it may not last much more than than once it hits your table.

Refrigerate any salsa you don’t use right away, but bring any leftovers back to room temperature before you serve them. Enjoy within 4-5 days.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Barbara says:

    Great recipe. We have been making cooked salsas. The beauty of which is that you can freeze them and and eat them later thawed or cook with them. They are a flavorful reminder of summer come December 🙂

    1. Susan says:

      Excellent plan. I’m in.

      1. Barbara says:

        we have been using recipes from an old Rick Bayless book called “Salsas that Cook”

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