balsamic tomato salsa

balsamic tomato salsa

Stewed tomatoes.  I was cleaning out my pantry, and came across a can that I must have mistakenly bought.  I just stared at it.  Trying not to be wasteful, I stood there thinking of how I could use it but something in my genetic make up won’t allow it.  My mother, however, (insert the saying “bless her heart” HERE), seemed to think that they went with every skillet dinner we had growing up.  I just couldn’t get past the weirdly shaped, skinless, lifeless chunks.  They looked like someone beat the life out of them and then canned them up because no one else wanted them.  I love tomatoes any other way – sliced, diced, raw, sauced – oh wait, that’s me!  So anyway, they often got picked around at dinner.  Now, as an adult, I am laughing at myself because I still can’t open a can of stewed tomatoes.  I just can’t.  But who needs them?  Like I said, there are so many ways to eat tomatoes.  This recipe can go a few ways.  It can be a jalapeño type salsa made with lime juice or red wine vinegar, or turn it into a salad with feta and orzo.  But the number one tip is to us the best ingredients you can since everything is fresh.  I also  prefer to use grape tomatoes since they hold their shape better when mixing everything together, but use diced if you prefer.  This one was made to go with a swordfish dinner we were having.  It was so good, that I had to break it out again from the fridge a few days later, and have some as an appetizer.  Love you mom!

swordfish and tomato salsa

mixed salsa

balsamic tomato salsa

1/2  pint of organic red grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2  pint of organic golden grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2  pint of kalamata olives, sliced (or any combination of olives)
1/2  English cucumber, peeled and diced
6  scallions, sliced
2  Fresno chilis, sliced
10  basil leaves, julienned
3  TB Aged balsamic vinegar (not your run of the mill balsamic vinegar)
1  TB extra virgin olive oil
pinch crushed red pepper
kosher salt and ground black pepper

yellow grape tomatoes

diced cucumber

fresno chilis


get started on the salsa:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Add the pinch of crushed red pepper.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix gently.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

basil leaves


tomato coulis


I had made a braised artichoke appetizer a few weeks back, and it called for it to be drizzled with a tomato coulis.  I wasn’t sure entirely what a coulis was, but decided to give it a try.  I loved the coulis better than the artichokes!  I would use this on almost anything – from fish, to crostini, to kabobs.  I might be telling you something you already know, but this was my coulis moment.  Now, as you can see, I made this in the winter, but I made sure that I bought the most flavorful tomatoes I could find.  I can’t wait to make this with heirloom varieties in the summer with all the different color tomatoes…yum.
I decided to tweak the recipe from Cooking Light, because I wanted a smoother sauce than what was produced by my food processor.   If I had used a blender like the recipe called for, I wonder if tweaking would not have been necessary.  Drizzle away…

quartered tomatoescoulis ingredients

tomato coulis (adapted Food & Wine August 2009)

4  medium fresh tomatoes
4  oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 garlic clove, minced
3  TB extra virgin olive oil
5 basil leaves
pinch of crushed red pepper
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

strained coulistomato coulis

get started on coulis:

In a food processor, puree the fresh tomatoes with the drained sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil and crushed red pepper.  Season with salt and black pepper.  Strain mixture over a bowl, pressing solids to release all liquid.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

note:  as said earlier, you can opt to do this in a blender and not strain the mixture for a slightly thicker texture.