Over the weekend, I spent some time with my herb people because Charles Garcia swung through Iowa CIty on his cross-country herbal tour. He stayed at my place for a few days and some locals were lucky enough to glean some of his wisdom. As he was leaving this morning, he took some pictures of my garden. They reminded me that I have a lot of good stuff growing to use up. Today I picked more peppers and some nasturtiums.
Nasturtium is plant that was introduced to Europe from Peru in the 16th Century. They aren’t a perennial in Iowa, but unlike some plants that came from South America it naturalizes quite well in cooler climates and will generally re-seed itself. If you like this recipe remember not to use up all your flowers, let some of them go to seed.
In the following recipes, the leaves take the place of cilantro, which I appreciate because it bolts pretty quickly in Iowa and I never have any when my peppers and tomatoes are ripe.
I can’t take credit for this particular idea entirely as I’ve seen it in a few cookbooks from the UK, including including Jekka McVicar’s, but of course I can’t leave any recipe alone. It’s been tweaked quite a bit because I like a little more flavor.
4 large tomatoes peeled
2 small red chile peppers ( You can cut back to one)
1 Serrano pepper
1 medium size green chile pepper or a sweet green pepper
2 red onions
1 good hand full of nasturtium leaves
3 tbsp of red wine vinegar
Juice from 1 good size lime
1 tsp cumin
Salt to taste
Nasturtium petals for garnish
If you don’t already know this a quick way to peel tomatoes is to pop them in some boiling water until you see the skins split. Then you can slip them right off.
Put the tomatoes in your food processor and process them until they are a consistency you like. My boys don’t like chunks so I puree mine up pretty well. Then chop the onions, peppers and nasturtium leaves and stir them into the tomatoes. Add the vinegar, lime juice, cumin and salt. Chop the flower petals and use them as a garnish.
If you make a lot, I suppose you could can this, but I don’t enjoy cooking salsa, so I freeze mine.