Though salsa has become synonymous with tomato salsa in the United States, the word actually means “sauce” in Spanish (and can refer to a number of different varieties). Tomato salsa is readily available in just about any grocery store, but it’s also easy to make at home — and the homemade version is exponentially more delicious.
Here’s how to make a simple salsa at home:
Dice lots of fresh tomatoes and one onion. Mince a jalapeño pepper and one clove of garlic and then combine the four ingredients in a bowl. Add a squeeze of lime juice, freshly chopped cilantro leaves, and salt to taste. In Mexican cuisine, this mixture is called pico de gallo or salsa fresca.
If you want to make a salsa picante (hot and spicy salsa), put your pico de gallo in a blender or food processor along with another minced jalapeno (or an even hotter pepper, like a serrano chile) and pulse the mixture until it’s smoother but still quite chunky. Add any additional seasonings that you like (a pinch of cumin or chipotle powder adds a nice smokiness to the salsa) and then cook the salsa in a saucepan over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes, or until it reaches the desired consistency. Chill before serving.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.