As many of you are fully aware, I have an exploding tomato population. I went a bit “Little House on the Prairie” thinking I needed to sow all my seeds to get me through the long, hard winter on the farm apparently. Well, now… I am reaping what I have sown. PUN. FULLY. INTENDED.
It’s mass chaos back there. I think the tomatoes get together in some sort of secret society at night while I’m sleeping, plotting to overthrow me. One day I may wake up to them all crouched down waiting to pounce (think: Lord of the Flies). OK, clearly I’ve gone off on a tangent…
Last week I made a joke about “101 things to do with tomatoes”, listing all of the recipes that were likely to show up here because they are bountiful and I can barely keep up. And while it is inevitable that more tomato recipes will appear, I would have to say in all honesty that the best thing to do with a tomato is eat it right from the plant, still warm from the sun. Nothing beats it.
A friend of mine suggested I share a salsa recipe. He said he’s always looking for new ones to try and then another friend of mine said she needed one too, so here we are.
There are no shortage of salsa recipes out there, that is for sure, but maybe you’ve never had one like this before.
If you’ve ever spent time in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras or El Salvador, chances are you’ve had chirmol. If you have friends or family from that area or if you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant representing one of those countries, it is almost a certainty.
It is the go-to condiment served with grilled meat and makes an appearance at every barbecue.
The sharpness of the lime, the bite of the onions, the acidity in the tomatoes all work together perfectly to cut through the richness of the grilled meat. I’m salivating just thinking about it…
It is a delicious combination. Don’t just take my word for it, get in the kitchen!
Chirmol is basically a pico de gallo or salsa. It is scrumptious mixed in with rice and/or beans or scooped up with a tortilla chip. I even throw some in with my eggs in the morning. If you like salsa, you’ll love this.
Salsas are one of the quickest and easiest things to throw together. In less than 10 minutes, it’s done. Start to finish. It does not require incredible knife skills, so whether you have been cooking forever or are just beginning, everyone can manage this.
8 plum tomatoes
1 small onion, finely diced
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 – 1 jalapeno pepper (optional)
salt & pepper
Coat tomatoes with about a teaspoon of oil, just enough to slick their skin. Grill until skin is lightly charred, set aside in a bowl to cool slightly before peeling. Sometimes mine burst open before they get charred enough. If this happens, don’t sweat it! You can either let them hang out for another minute or just pull them off the grill.
If the tomatoes are the only thing you need grilled & you don’t want to go through the trouble, you can do them in a pan on the stove or in the oven.
If you don’t feel like cooking them at all, that’s fine too.
We’re not trying to split the atom, it’s just a tomato…
Once the tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, slip the skins off and chop them up. If you like a smooth salsa, puree them in the blender.
Let the diced onions hang out in the lime juice for about 10 minutes, this helps to mellow them out. Then add the rest of your ingredients and mix to combine. Season with salt & pepper.
This is the basic, traditional recipe for chirmol. If you are in the mood for a more gussied up version, feel free to experiment and add in roasted or fresh corn, diced bell pepper, diced mango, peach or pineapple.
You can also switch up the chilies; add chipotles in adobo to make it even smokier or if you REALLY like heat, add in a habanero, or Scotch bonnet.