Lily’s Salsa

At the recent Tomatopalooza (see the post from a couple of days ago for details and juicy photos), there was also a small salsa competition. One intrigued me because it combined sweet fruit with the tomatoes.

I’m a fan of fruit salsas, but not as a dip with chips. I use fruit salsa as a bright addition to simple grilled chicken or fish – and your guests will think you’ve gone upscale. I often make one using fresh peaches, but the one at Tomatopalooza had a different fruit involved, along with tomatoes.

When I found the salsa’s creator, Jodi Grubbs, she gave me the instructions and revealed the secret fruit: Pear.

To achieve the balance of flavors in this salsa, the type of tomatoes used are important. Grubbs used a combination of yellow, orange and red tomatoes along with the pears. Yellow and orange tomatoes have a less acid, more sweet flavor. Replace them all with tart-tasting reds, and you will lose the nice flavor mix in the salsa. So take the time to search out good heirloom tomatoes in the right colors.

Here are Grubbs’ instructions for Lily’s Salsa, which she named after her daughter: Finely chop 1/4 of a red onion, 1 medium pear (peeled) and 2 habaneros. Stir it all together and refrigerate for 2 days. Then chop 2 orange tomatoes, 2 small red low-acid-flavor tomatoes, 1 medium pear (peeled), 1 medium yellow tomato (she used a Lillian’s Yellow) and 6 leaves of fresh lemon verbena. Stir that into the mixture. Taste, add sea salt as needed and serve.

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