In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

The Ultimate Salsa Recipe [Caribbean Style].

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Salsa is not a “Caribbean” type dish! Really? How easily we forget the Spanish speaking Caribbean, like Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico. I started making this take on salsa for my girls after I read the label of the pre-packaged stuff they were buying at the grocery stores. Called salsa, but lacked any real flavor and loaded with sodium and preservatives. You’ll notice that I’ve taken the technique we use in Trinidad and Tobago for making Tomato Choka and applied it in making this salsa.. for what I believe is the best salsa you’ll ever have/enjoy! Ask my daughters and their friends.

You’ll Need…

3 Roma tomatoes
3 scallions
1 green scotch bonnet pepper
3 cloves garlic
1/2 med avocado (ripe)
1/2 green scotch bonnet pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 heaping tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 lemon (juice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

I’d much prefer to use my outdoor grill to fire-roast the scallions, pepper and tomatoes, but with it being sill cold outside (long winter) and since I know many people don’t have access to open flame grilling, I thought I’d use my cast iron pan on the stove top. Simply drizzle some vegetable oil on the pan (or use a non stick pan) and have it on a medium flame. Char the scotch bonnet pepper and scallion and set aside, then add the Roma tomatoes (I like using those as they are more meaty and less acidic) and grill on all sides till cooked all the way through – about 10 mins.

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Dice the cherry tomato (raw) or you can use another couple Roma tomatoes.. I used cherry as I like the sweetness of them and add to a large bowl along with the chopped grilled scallions.

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Using a mortar and pestle add the charred scotch bonnet (don’t add any seeds if you’re concerned about the raw heat and do wear gloves when handling them), the sea salt and garlic. Crush to a paste. By now the tomatoes should be fully roasted. you can remove the skin or leave them for a wicked kick of roasted flavor in the finished salsa. Crush the tomatoes as well.. to a chunky paste.

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Add this crushed mixture to the bowl and mix well. It’s now time to bring everything together.. dice the avocado and add it along with the lemon juice, cilantro, black pepper and olive oil. Fold gently as not to over-crush the avocado. The goal is to have some texture from the avocado and diced tomato to balance the sort of thick sauce from the crushed roasted tomatoes. The slight kick from the scotch bonnet, the onion and garlic flavors and the roasted tomatoes will truly excite your taste buds. Not to be outdone, the herbal note from the cilantro will definitely have you and your guests wanting more.. so double up on the recipe as a precaution!

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Serve fresh for best results, but you can make this in advance.. store in the fridge. I notice that the odd time it does not devoured immediately by my girls, it breaks down after three days in the fridge (discolor). Instead of lemon juice, lime would give it a lovely hint of citrus as well.

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The Ultimate Salsa Recipe [Caribbean Style].
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  1. June 4, 2015 / 10:35 am

    Yes, not all salsa is the same! Thanks for sharing a Caribbean flavored one. Love the use of roasted tomatoes in this one.

  2. Crashing Boulder
    May 16, 2015 / 2:12 pm

    Chris nice recipe my friend. I will try it soon but without the zaboca as I never developed a taste for it during my early years in TnT. I noticed that you are using a wooden mortar and pestle for this recipe. I wonder if you ever tried using a granite mortar and pestle – and a LARGE one at that. A couple years ago after searching high and low for a LARGE mortar and pestle both in stores and on line I came across one from on line retailer whose site is They have several sizes and I purchased the one that is about six cups in volume. I have no affiliation with these good folks – he is American and his wife is from Thailand and they specialize in importing and selling Thai food and cooking utensils. They just sell great merchandise and give wonderful customer service. They are located out in the US state of Oregon. If you are interested give them a look-see. They have some good knives and Chinese choppers as well. Good luck with your own cooking efforts as well Chris. I am very fond of many of your recipes and your cooking techniques. Cheers,

    Mark – a fellow once and former son of the soil of TnT and food lover extraordinaire

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