Smoked tomato and char-grilled pepper salsa

Photographer: Adam
Yields approx. 2 cups

For Christmas my partner and I bought ourselves a charcoal barbeque.  After spending a (delightful) afternoon assembling the kitset creation and trying to follow the less-than-helpful instructions, we had worked up quite an appetite. Before the dreaded hungry-anger (hanger) could take hold we got cooking, creating a smokey feast perfect for a kiwi summer! I am not a fan of bland, store bought barbeque sauce, and wanted to create something that would be great mates with all kinds of barbequed meat, so I experimented with smoking tomatoes and char-grilling peppers, arriving at this scrumptious salsa.  We served it up alongside barbequed, shredded chicken thighs in soft flour tortillas.  It is also great as a dip with corn chips, or to top off a perfectly cooked steak.


500g tomatoes
3 medium-sized red peppers
1 red chilli
1 green chilli
Olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Finely gated zest and juice of 2 limes
¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, very finely diced
5 stalks spring onion, finely diced
¼ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
½ tsp ground cumin
Salt, pepper, brown sugar to taste

Wood chips for smoking (I used Manuka)


This salsa is great made on a charcoal barbeque to get really deep, smokey flavours.
1. With a sharp knife make a small ‘x’ incision on the bottom of each tomato. (This will make skinning them easy later.) Rub the red peppers and chillies with a little olive oil.
2. Smoke tomatoes for between 45 minutes and 1 hour. Time required will depend on the size and intensity of your barbeque. They should be cooked but not mushy, with a delicate smoked flavour.
3. Blacken the chillies and peppers on the barbeque. Place in a bowl and cover tightly with cling film. Set aside to cool.
4. Once cool enough to handle, core and skin the red peppers, then finely chop. Core, skin and de-seed the chilli peppers while wearing protective gloves. Mince.
5. Peel and core tomatoes and roughly chop into a bowl. Add remaining salsa ingredients and mix well. Season to taste – a sprinkling of brown sugar works a treat if your tomatoes are not super sweet.
Serve at room temperature with barbequed meats or as a dip with corn chips and sour cream. Keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.