A recipe for Šalša- a Croatian Tomato Sauce from the Dalmatian coast! Tomatoes are simmered with plenty of garlic, onion, butter, parsley, and a little sugar for the perfect accompaniment to pasta, rice, meat, or even fries.
Italy isn’t the only country with spectacular tomato sauces. In Croatia, they are known as Šalša or Paradajz Sos! The inspiration for this particular Šalša comes from the Dalmatian coast and is a created by simmering together tomatoes, lots of garlic, onion, butter, parsley, and a little sugar to create a flavor-packed sauce perfect for summer.
As I was searching through recipes, I found a few different ways to make this light and refreshing summertime sauce. Others also include carrots, peppers, celery, or different herbs such as mint or basil. The addition of onion is also optional. It is best made in-season when tomatoes are at their freshest and most flavorful. They should be deep red and slightly soft.
A Few Tips
I served it with pasta, but Šalša is also delicious paired with rice, meat, or fries.
If you want a smoother sauce, use a potato masher or even an immersion blender towards the end of cooking. Adjust the seasonings based on the sweetness of the tomatoes. I added about a tablespoon of sugar- more or less may be needed depending on the season and ripeness.
Overall, this sauce takes about an hour to prepare (though most of the time involves a hands-off simmering). Leftovers can be refrigerated for about three days. The Šalša can be frozen as a way to preserve your garden tomatoes and enjoy them all year long.
Looking for more tomato-based recipes?
- Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Salad
- Domatosoupa Me Kritharaki (Greek Tomato Soup with Orzo)
- Farro Salad with Kale and Roasted Tomatoes
Šalša (Croatian Tomato Sauce) Recipe
Adapted from Balkan Lunch Box
Šalša (Croatian Tomato Sauce)
- 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) vine-ripened tomatoes
- 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 large onion peeled and finely diced
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon 12.5 grams) granulated sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with cold water and place nearby.
- Cut a small "x" into the bottom of each of the tomatoes and gently add them to the water. Cook for 2 minutes, then drain and place the tomatoes in the cold water.
- Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and discard, then squeeze each tomato into a large bowl.
- In a large pot, place the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir in the tomatoes and garlic. Season with sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Once bubbling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down into a sauce, 45 minutes to 1 hour. If desired, use a potato masher to create a smoother sauce. Season to taste and stir in the parsley.
- Serve warm with pasta, rice, or fries.