Our last salsa recipe was for canning (preserving).  If you want to preserve salsa for winter, check it out – if you’re looking for something fresh to eat with dinner, try this one out.  You can mix and match ingredients but the real secret is the techniques of resting the ingredients with salt and cooking the tomato water into paste.  This will result in a super-tomato flavored salsa that isn’t liquidy and doesn’t need lime juice for acidity.

This salsa punches you with tomato.  It will not be ignored.  But it’s punch is packed with tomato love so don’t worry if you’re a lover and not a fighter.

Although I try to be humble with the recipes I share with you here, I’m beyond confident with these techniques and can’t recommend it enough.  It simply rocks.  It was so good that Dana ate the leftovers as if it was salad!


I used different types of heirloom tomatoes but any vine-ripened tomatoes will produce the best results.  Corn is optional and you can make it as hot as you want (but I often add all sorts of hot peppers from other recipes such as these).

A lot of salsa recipes call for lime to increase the acidity to the recipe.  While this works, I far rather keeping lime out of my salsa and using the tomato water to increase the acidity.  You’ll find instructions in the recipe but here’s an overview:

  • While I chop the tomatoes, I use my fingers to poke the seeds and excess tomato jelly (that’s the clear tomato liquid that suspends the seeds) into a side bowl.
  • The tomato flesh is placed into a strainer and salted.  I add other ingredients and allow the tomatoes to continue to drain (the salt promotes this).
  • I add the discards from the first step to the water from the second step and cook into a thick paste that consists of thick tomato water and seeds.  More than a cup of liquid became less than a tablespoon of liquid that was acidic and tasted of intense tomatoes.  It becomes so thick that it remains separated after you run a spoon through it (like in the picture below).  This is cooled and added to the salsa.

That’s the secret to this ultimate salsa recipe!


  • 2.5-3 pounds heirloom tomatoes
  • 0.5 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 0.5-1 teaspoon cumin
  • 0.5-1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 cobs of cooked corn, kernels removed from cob and cooled
  • 0.5 purple onion, chopped small
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 0.25-05 cups freshly chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to season


  1. Chop tomatoes in half; use your fingers to scoop seeds and tomato jelly into a side bowl (don’t worry about being perfect).
  2. Chop tomatoes into small (salsa-sized bits).  Toss with 0.5 teaspoon of salt and sit in a strainer above a bowl (it’s ok to use the same bowl from step 1; you’ll cook the liquid together.
  3. Add the other ingredients (except for the cilantro) as you go, stirring gently.  I like to leave the tomatoes rest for 3-4 hours but if you’re in a rush you can wait less (though your salsa will be slightly more runny).
  4. Add the liquid and seeds from steps 1 and 2 in a saucepan.  There should be 0.75-1.5 cups of tomato water.
  5. Reduce until you have a fine paste that remains separated after you move a spoon through it.  Stir to prevent burning.  I reduce the liquid by 90% (i.e. a cup of tomato water becomes a tablespoon).
  6. Allow the paste to cool, add it to the salsa and stir.
  7. Add cilantro, season with salt and pepper and serve; you’re good to go!

What do you eat salsa with?

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