Late Summer Baja Salsa

A Salsa Worth Freaking Out Over

You’re freaking out about this salsa.
Don’t freak out about this salsa.
I’m freaking out about this salsa.
Let’s talk about this salsa.

You may imagine that I’m slightly selective when it comes to salsas.

Do you hear that? That’s A. snickering in the background because he knows that, in reality, I am pickier than a toothpick at a toothpick convention when it comes to salsa.

I like a sweet tomato base.
I like a fair amount of heat.
I like some herby flavor.
And I like a reasonable amount of chunky heft.

Once each of these factors is satisfied, however, I don’t mind playing with the specifics; this particular salsa is the result of my most recent playing. Which brings us back to the freaking out part.

I know it sounds weird. I get it. Black olives? Honey? Fish sauce? Together? With roasted jalapeños?? And plump, juicy, late summer heirloom tomatoes?!?!

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes again.

Give it a try. Whip this salsa up like a boss. Serve it to a skeptic. And watch them become a fan.

Freak out over. Enjoy.

So Much Salsa, So Little Time

Late Summer Baja Salsa

3 lbs. ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored, rough chopped (any type of tomatoes that are currently in season where you live may be substituted)
5 cloves garlic
dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt for roasting
1/2 c. black olives, pitted
1/2 c. chives, rough chopped
2 jalapeños, roasted, peeled, stemmed and seeded
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. white pepper, ground

Place the tomato pieces in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse-process to a smooth/chunky consistency. I recommend pulse-processing here simply so that you can control the consistency of the pulverized tomatoes. Remove processed tomatoes and carefully pour into a large colander lined with paper towels. Set aside to drain slightly for at least 30 minutes, but no more than an hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Toss the garlic with the oil and salt, wrap tightly in foil, and roast until shriveled, golden, and extremely fragrant, approximately 30-45 minutes. Place roasted garlic along with remaining ingredients into the bowl of your food processor and process to a thick paste. Pour the drained tomatoes into a large bowl, stir in the garlic and olive mixture and serve. I recommend storing this finished salsa in glass canning jars in the refrigerator.

YIELD:  approximately 4 1/2 cups


  1. 6

    Nan says

    Help I am making this salsa now ? what kind of black olives
    I have regular black olives in a can
    or Pitted Kalamata black olives

    • Meagan says

      I went with pitted Kalamata olives, Nan. I find them to be much more flavorful than regular black olives. Let me know how the salsa turns out!

      • Nan says

        The salsa turned out great, only thing is I don’t know if I had the correct fish sauce. My fish sauce ingredient is anchovy is that the correct kind of fish sauce. If so I think I would add a little less, strong taste (or do you think it could be old).
        In any case delish thanks for the recipe

        • Meagan says

          You had the correct fish sauce, Nan, although it is supposed to yield a salty, not fishy, flavor in this salsa. It’s possible, as you suggested, that your bottle may have turned (I use mine so infrequently that I often end up replacing bottles that have gone bad). Either way, you are absolutely correct that you can simply add less next time. And I’m so glad that you enjoyed this salsa! I love it as a nice alternative to the norm. Thanks for reading, Nan!

  2. 5


    Wow, I would never have imagined all these ingredients together in a salsa! Fish sauce?? WELL. I’m super curious to give it a try!

  3. 4


    We have very similar salsa expectations and I can almost taste this. I would really, really, really love a taste of this right now.

  4. 3


    Living in the Southwest will spoil you for salsa. I can’t imagine going to a Mexican restaurant with less than 4 options for flavors, and most will have a serve-yourself salsa bar, which let’s be honest – I could easily make into a meal.

    As for this one….I am all for it as long as those evil black olives stay far far from the food processor. Those things just…nope. Otherwise? I’m in.

    • Meagan says

      Sing it, sister. Not about the black olives, but about the salsa bars that we all know are basically a meal in and of themselves. Now about those black olives… OK, fine, I’ll leave those out of your serving of this salsa.

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