This morning, I happened to look up from my oodles of homework for a moment and was blown away by what I saw out my window. A cloudless, blue sky! People wearing light jackets with bare heads and hands! For the second day in a row! That last point is the real clincher; here in London, one nice day is a fortunate anomaly. Two nice days means spring must be around the corner. Or so I’m really, really hoping.
March can be a frustrating month for cooks. I’m no longer excited by the hearty, rich meals of wintertime, but real spring produce is just a glimmer in the farmer’s market’s eye. Sure, the squashes and root veg are winding down in numbers, and the kale and purple sprouting are nearing the end of their season, but so far, they haven’t been replaced by anything that really rocks my world. I’ve got to say, I’m getting a bit sick of cabbage.
Luckily, when I need a taste of warmer climes, there are tomatoes. The Tomato Stall is at my local market every week, and though the winter fruit they offer doesn’t come close to what they’ll have a few months from now, it’s still delicious. Grown on the Isle of Wight, these little gems are sweet and flavorful and bursting with warm-weather wishes. It’s funny that I’m waxing so poetic about tomatoes since up to recently I haven’t been able to abide them raw. But I guess I’m growing up because these days I’ll happily chow down on the smaller, cherry and grape varieties.
A happy side-effect of this is that I can now make salsa. A warm-weather staple if ever there was one, a fresh, spicy salsa is perfect for tricking the taste buds into thinking that spring is here. Below is my favourite recipe, and simple though it may be, I think the balance of flavours is just what you need in a good salsa: sweet and sour with a good dose of spice. I like this in burritos or tacos, or on top of veggie burgers. It’s also nice as an omelette filling, tossed with some noodles and shrimp for a lunch salad, or even just as a dip for crackers or chips.
My Favourite Salsa
makes approx. 1 1/2 cups
- 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes (use the freshest and sweetest you can find)
- 1/2 a red onion, chopped
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped (NOT deseeded)
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup chopped coriander (stalks and leaves)
- pinch sea salt
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1-2 Tbs. olive oil
- Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl and let steep in the fridge for 30 minutes. You can drain this before serving if you like, but the sweet, sour, spicy liquid which comes off it is perfect if you’re mixing this into anything.