One of my first taste treats in California was sitting down in a restaurant and having a meal including tomato salsa and cheese quesadillas. It was the first of many experiences over the years, and from a timid small serving I grew to love the spicy salsa. Iíve been trying to replicate the flavors over the years, and Iíll share with you here what Iíve come up with.
Though I serve it with cheese quesadillas for this recipe, you could use it as a corn chip dip, or a side with enchiladas or chile rellenos, or smothering a tostado, or as an ingredient to spice a bean burrito. If you are making the cheese quesadillas a nice addition is a dollop of sour cream as a garnish.
Here is how I make this easy meal.
Ingredients for the fresh tomato salsa:
- Two large ripe tomatoes
- 2 sprigs parsley
- 2 sprigs cilantro
- Chopped dill weed, if dried use about one quarter teaspoon
- One eighth teaspoon chili powder if desired
- One eighth teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 finely chopped cloves of fresh garlic (my favorite addition)
- One long spring onion sliced in small circlets or equivalent chopped Spanish onion
- Salt and pepper to taste
- One quarter teaspoon granulated sugar
To prepare the salsa:
Select a small bowl. Slice the large tomatoes into at least 16 small chunks each over the bowl to preserve the tomato juice.
On a cutting board, smash and finely chop the garlic cloves and add to tomatoes. Add in your choice of onions.
Using kitchen shears, snip the parsley and cilantro into small pieces over the chopped tomatoes and stir in.
Sprinkle tomato mixture with one quarter teaspoon dry dill weed, salt and pepper to taste, sugar, cumin and chili powder. Stir in.
(The photo shows a 2-person serving using 2 large tomatoes.)
I like to let the salsa chill in the refrigerator to blend the flavors, then stir it again before serving.
Ingredients for quesadillas:
- Two corn (or flour) quesadillas per serving
- 1 ounce of shredded cheese per serving
- Sour cream for dipping
Prepare the quesadillas:
Cook the quesadilla by laying one tortilla in iron skillet. Pile on shredded cheese and spread to the edges. Top with the second corn tortilla.
Place on medium heat and allow one side to heat and melt cheese, so that the top tortilla sticks to the melted cheese. (Compress with a spatula to help the cheese stick to both tortillas.) Use a spatula to flip quesadilla carefully. After second side is heated through, use spatula to lift to serving plate. Using kitchen shears cut into 4 wedges.
If you have a ripe avocado, using a fork smash a sliver onto the top of each wedge.
To eat, dip sections into sour cream and spoon on some of the salsa, folding the section up together like the sides of a boat to keep the toppings from falling off.
Enjoy your meal, Iíll bet it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare from start to table, and a much shorter time to eat. A nice benefit in preparing your own tomato salsa is that you know just what ingredients are included. If you donít have ripe tomatoes handy, an alternate and acceptable substitute is to use a 12 ounce can of chopped tomatoes, which some of my kids actually prefer.
Article and photo by Susan Helene Kramer
If you are into vegetarian cooking, this is my all-time favorite cookbook. The author is an Ojai Valley, California resident:
The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas
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