Italians make salsas, and this one is all about flavor, rather than heat – with just the right balance of simple Mexican and Italian ingredients. If you fancy spicy or hot, simply use medium or high-heat green chiles in place of mild!

I adapted the recipe from an Italian…Vivian (an extended family member), talented cook, artist/painter and wife of a chocolatier. I was in awe of her as a teen and wanted to be just like her (a well kept secret ’till now). I made a few adjustments to the ingredients, using vine ripe Romas; I also added cilantro. Summer is the time I make it the most because of in-season tomatoes – outstanding!

It goes without saying how easy this salsa is to make – I do let it sit 1-2 hours for the flavors to meld before digging in. To serve, chips are an obvious choice…Vivian made fabulous salsa tacos, and I do too. Crostini or Piadine quesadillas, burritos and tostados are also options. I for one, can eat it for days on corn tortillas with melted cheese, lettuce and avocado. Totally satisfying (juicy and messy)…nothing like a great old recipe!

I have a few more Vivian recipes in my notes…looking forward to sharing those, too.


 Salsa Fresca

Makes 4 cups


1 1/2  pounds ripe plum tomatoes, small dice

1/3  cup (from a 4-ounce can) mild diced green chiles

3-4  garlic cloves, finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)

1  tablespoon finely minced red or yellow onion

2/3  cup chopped black olives (about 22 large, pitted)

1  tablespoon minced fresh oregano

1 ½-2  tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2  tablespoons canola oil

1  tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4  teaspoon kosher salt

1/4  teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Combine the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours (better yet, overnight) to allow the flavors to meld. Stir well before serving.



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