finally, a tyler florence dish

Spring is here in Ohio for good! My wife and I took the opportunity last week to enjoy the warmer morning weather at a local arboretum. Cox Arboretum is a great place to visit in Dayton, Ohio, especially as flowers begin to bloom. We stopped at Starbucks to get her some coffee (they were close by), and also tried their new breakfast sandwiches. I’ll let you decide for yourself what you think of them, but I’d advise just getting an egg mcmuffin. That didn’t dampen the mood of the day, though.

Starbucks breakfast



daffodil macro

The good weather had me wanting to fix something quick and easy, and, several month ago, I said I was going to do a monthly Tyler Florence recipe, so I decided to finally make one.

Out of all the recipes in “Dinner At My Place” by Tyler Florence, my wife selected the one she wanted me to try first, and it’s likely the simplest of all the recipes in the entire book… San Marzano “Quick” Salsa. And it is quick, simple, easy, but pretty good.

The ingredients are even simple:

  • 1 28-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 serrano chile (I used a whole one)
  • 1/4 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I used half of this)
  • the juice of 2 limes
  • salt and pepper

tf salsa making

That’s it! Very simple. My food processor is small, so I did the salsa in 2 parts. There’s not much to think through, just put the ingredients in the food processor, and hit the pulse button, with the blade in the food processor.

I didn’t use any of the extra juice from the tomatoes for the salsa, but you can if you want it more watery. It’s not a chunky salsa, but the flavor is actually very good.

I made this twice so far, just because it’s so simple and still tastes great. The second time, I couldn’t find a serrano chile, so I got a jalapeno chile instead. It worked just fine, but I think the serrano gives a deeper flavor, while neither are hot. For hotter salsa, just add more chile!

TF salsa & chips

My wife made the chips to go with the salsa. She simply cut tortillas up, put them on a cookie sheet and lightly spritzed with some oil, added a touch of salt, and baked at 350 degrees F for a 12-15 minutes, watching closely to make sure they didn’t burn. I really like these chips, as they aren’t all the badness of the bags of chips, and the crunch is really nice.

The salsa also worked great on turkey tacos! The shells were the worst part of the tacos, as we used very little cheese, lowfat ground turkey, chopped olives and just touch of sour cream. I figured that 2 tacos were about 11 points total, which isn’t bad for a dinner at all. Using the salsa really helped, as it added a freshness without adding the stuff I don’t need!

turkey tacos

If I’d chosen this as the recipe to start with, I would have felt I chickened out, as there was no cooking involved. But my wife chose it, and it turned out really very good. This is a good go-to salsa recipe. The cilantro and lime juice are great in it. I did try some non-San Marzano tomatoes, and I could tell a bit of a difference, but I don’t know if it’s enough to care about; had I not tried them side by side, I probably wouldn’t have known.

So what’s my next Tyler Florence recipe? I’m not sure, but I’ll pick something for next month. Say what you like about TF, I’ve found his recipes to be very good. If you have any TF recipes you’ve wanted to try, let me know; I’ll add them to my list!

About Curt McAdams

I guess I'm a bit of a foodie, learning to cook from my mom, then getting obsessed with outdoor cooking, competition barbecue, bread baking and just about all things food. Lately, I've been trying to upgrade my photography skills a bit, though I still have a long way to go.


  1. Looks Delish – I love Tyler Florence’s recipes and I love San Marzano tomatoes! I should do a post of my blog about my homemade tomato sauce using SM tomatoes.

  2. I’d agree.. you should post it. Now that I’ve done steak tastings, I want to start taste testing everything. I’d like to prove or disprove that plum tomatoes are different from San Marzano than from other places.

  3. I’d be very interested in your findings. My family definitely prefers homemade sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes over others. They seems to be more sweet; less acidic.

  4. Wow, am I glad to have found your blog. Gorgeous photos & delicious food… that’s what draws me in!!

    We skipped spring, and it’s summer instead here in San Diego. 90′s the past couple of days!

  5. ButterYum,

    I’ll have to do it, then. Plum tomatoes from different places, blind taste testing!


    I’m glad you stopped by, and thanks for the compliments. I’ve heard it’s rough on San Diego; I didn’t think even summer was usually that hot there!

  6. What a simple salsa – something that can easily be put together on the spur of the moment – and I’ve always loved baked chips! :D

  7. I’m totally forwarding your blog to my dad, so he can learn to BBQ like you :) I just found your blog and I really like it, I enjoy the concept and the design, as well as the foods you feature. Will have to sit down and enjoy it more closely. Thanks for sharing those wonderful photos of spring :)

  8. Biz,

    I think I actually prefer the baked chips to fried. And, you’re right; you can make this salsa in about 4 minutes or less!

  9. Marta,

    I’m glad you stopped by. BBQ really isn’t tough once you get the basics down, but I’d be glad to help your dad if he has any questions about it.

    Daffodils are kind of the first sign of spring to me. My great aunt used to have over an acre of daffodils. I once figured out she had something like 675,000 (no kidding) bulbs planted! This time of the year, it was amazing to see hte varieties of daffodils.

  10. San Marzano tomatoes – arent they the greatest?

  11. helen,

    That’s still be determined for me. :) I am going to get some San Marzano, some regular plum tomatoes, and some San Marzano style tomatoes to try, probably next week some time, to prove to myself if there’s enough difference to matter.

  12. I love when I run into a fellow Ohioan in the food blog world. Granted, I’m from the Cleveland area, but still. I love the recipe for the salsa. Great, simple, and delicious. I do a recipe almost like that except I buy whole roma tomatoes and blister them along with a jalapeno in a dry pan on the stove. Then, I cut and process. Yours sound way simpler though!

  13. Beatrice,

    There are more Ohio food bloggers than I first realized. And you’re right, this is a simple recipe, and would be quicker than the way you do it, but you may get a roasted flavor, if you have the time. For just throwing a salsa together quickly, this is quite good. An example that recipes don’t have to be complex to be good.

    I may have to try grilling the ingredients to see how I like that. It would take a bit more time, but wouldn’t be too bad.

  14. The salsa with the tacos looks awesome!

  15. Lorena,

    Thanks… That’s food styling at its finest… I made some tacos, on a plain paper plate, and decided to take a quick photo before taking a bite!

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