t was the summer of 1988 and I was visiting my new brother-in-law’s parents’ house. They were from California.
We sat outside in their background in the warm weather when Mrs. Arlett brought out some taco chips along with a dish of home-made salsa. I had never heard of salsa sauce before but I did love those nachos. Anyways, I gave a taco chip a dip and took a little bite. I will never forget that day in which those incredible flavors sat upon my tongue, then lit up my mouth and soul like patio lanterns, haha! Yes good food can have amazing effects even on a person’s psyche. What did these incredible flavors mean? It would be many years until I actually pieced it together in a meaningful way.
For years salsa was a staple snack in my life with delicious Mexican food. But I usually bought Salsa from the stores. The funny thing is I actually worked at a great Mexican restaurant in my hometown and made fresh salsa often. I loved it there, but when I made it at home for some reason it just didn’t taste perfect and my taste buds were broken-hearted you could say. And so, I didn’t make salsa again for several years. Actually, the next time I finally thought to start making it was back in Korea since we lived in a relatively isolated city. I couldn’t help but notice that Korean food actually had a lot of things in common with Mexican food. The main similarity being the mutual love of spicy green/red peppers. I had also spent time in Mexico and could taste the similarities.
I was in my 30’s at this time and I had really started to get sick of store bought Salsas that seemed to be full of disgusting preservatives and vinegars. I shriek just thinking of it now. My stomach always felt bad after eating that stuff too.
So living in Cheongju, South Korea, was a pretty good time to remember how to make salsa. I had a lot more cooking “common-sense” by that time as well. Now that I’ve more or less mastered this recipe I feel I have to share it because it’s still one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten and I consider it one of the “divine recipes” in my life. I’m guessing the combination of things like tomatoes, garlic and onions have got to be so healthy for the body that a powerful holistic mind-body reaction takes place and your soul jumps up and says “Yes!”
Well here it is. It’s so simple that anybody could make it in only two minutes. But the difference I think is extraordinary, as wide as the grand canyon in terms of flavor-fulfillment.
OK. Here we go:
James’ Simple Salsa
- Take a small tin of pickled jalapenos, drain and put into blender. (6.7 fl oz).
- Place 2 to 4 peeled garlic cloves into blender. (fresh garlic is so healthy).
- Peel and place half an onion into blender. (Maybe a third for less spicy).
- Put about a teaspoon of cumin and red pepper flakes into blender. (Add a little cayenne or paprika if you want).
- Squeeze in half a lime or lemon.
- Add one tin of mostly drained Stewed Tomatoes (28 fl oz). (From a jar is ideal or home-made even better).
- Add a few sprigs of cilantro or parsley or green onions. (I love the cilantro these days now that I’ve acquired the test).
- Sprinkle in some salt and pepper to your taste satisfaction.
- Hit blend button. Slower speeds to give a bit of chunkiness to it. (Make sure the garlic and onions are blended well though. That’s why I put them in first).
Now eat it! And tell me if that doesn’t taste better! Experiment with the recipe.