The bucket of green tomatoes is never-ending. I’m either going to have to give up gardening, or work harder at disguising ingredients in my cooking. First there was courgette in everything, closely followed by apple making an appearance in every other meal, now we’re in the depths of a green tomato glut.
After the green tomato cake, there was green tomato and parmesan focaccia, fried green tomatoes and the latest offering – green tomato salsa. There could well be a full-on revolt over the dinner table sometime very soon. But one of the attractions of homegrown fruit and veg is eating seasonally (yes, even if that means every meal while the season lasts), and growing ingredients that are rarely seen in the shops. So we will be enjoying green tomatoes until the bottom of the bucket appears…
Making salsa gave me a chance to work a few homegrown ingredients into one recipe. There were chillies from the greenhouse and a handful of fresh coriander leaves, also growing in pots under cover. I’d expected the weather to turn colder by now, so a few weeks ago I sowed a couple of pots of coriander to keep in the greenhouse and give us fresh leaves for as long as possible into autumn. The odd still warm day, scattered among the wet, grey, cooler days, mean there are lots of fresh coriander leaves.
Much as I love the flavour of coriander, I would usually be complaining about it growing like a weed in the garden. But this year there have been fewer self-seeded plants – last year’s rubbish weather meant that most of the plants didn’t get a chance to set and scatter seed. Next year looks like another season when I’ll need to buy in and sow seed. There was plenty of hot weather to encourage the plants to bolt, but the hens have developed a taste for coriander seed and eaten much of what was produced.
Anyhow, back to the green tomato salsa. It all started with a recipe from a blog called Modern Comfort Food, a very promising sounding mix of flavours. Working with the ingredients I had to hand, I used lime in place of lemon, and whatever chillies were ripe in the greenhouse, but largely stuck to the original. And it is really so good – the closest I’ve tasted to real tomatillo salsa verde, but without the tomatillos. Versatile too. We’ve eaten it with cheese and salads, a veggie shepherd’s pie, and swirled into a bowl of butternut squash soup. I’ve even tried green tomato salsa on toast for lunch… twice.
With a handful of coriander giving extra flavour to the salsa, this will be my offering for October’s Cooking with Herbs. It will join some fantastic, seasonal, herby recipes over on Karen’s blog at Lavender and Lovage – inspiration for using the best autumn has to offer.
Green tomato salsa
500g green tomatoes, washed and roughly chopped
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2 chillies – green or red, mild or hot… whatever suits your taste
½ tsp fine sea salt
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
Juice of ½ lime
1 tsp honey
A good big handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Put the tomatoes, onions, garlic, chillies, salt, cumin, oil and water into a pan and bring to the boil. Stir, put a lid on the pan and simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes, giving it another stir from time to time. Add the lime juice, honey and coriander. Stir to mix, then cook for a further 5 minutes.
Blitz the salsa with a hand blender until you have a sauce-like texture. Taste and season with more salt if necessary.
Store in the fridge.