Thursday, March 25, 2010

Three Quick and Easy Salsas

All salsas benefit from a little resting time, to let the flavors meld a bit. These can be made the day before and refrigerated. If you don't want a soupy, drippy salsa, drain the liquid before serving. Leaving it in the salsa while it rests will help the flavors mingle a bit.

All of these salsas can be made chunky, finely diced, or blended. If you prefer a smooth salsa, a stick blender is the ideal tool for the job.

For any particular ingredient, you can add more or less, or leave it out. It's up to your tastebuds. My goal here was to make three different salsas, all with few ingredients, and to make each salsa with a different main component, color, and type of heat, and to do so without repeating any specific ingredient (except salt) among the three recipes.

The instructions for all three salsas is pretty simply. Prepare the ingredients, mix them together, taste for seasoning, and adjust as needed. That's it.

"Cooked" Tomato Salsa

1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatos
1/4 cup onion, diced and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha (or more, to taste)
Adobo seasoning, about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
Sugar (optional)

Some folks prefer a cooked salsa to a fresh one, and using canned tomatoes and a prepared hot sauce gives this salsa that more mellow cooked taste without the need to do any cooking.

Rinsing the diced onions in cool water will keep them crisp while removing some of the bite; rinsing them (or giving them a little soak) in hot water will give them a head start on getting a little wilty, so they seem like they've been cooked at least a little bit.

Adobo powder comes in many brands and have varying amounts of salt. After adding the adobo to your liking, adjust the salt level. If the tomatoes are very tart, a little bit of sugar or honey will tame the tartness.

You can drain the tomatoes or leave them in their juice - it depends on what you're using the salsa for. And if you like even more of a cooked taste, you can certainly put this into a little saucepan and let it simmer until it's as cooked as you want it to be.

Fresh Green Tomatillo Salsa

3 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and diced
1/2 teaspoon Hotheads Pepperspread (or more, to taste)
1/4 cup green pepper, diced.
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

I recently discovered the locally-produced Hotheads Pepperspread, but if it's not available where you are, you can use diced canned jalepenos, pickled jalepenos, or fresh hot peppers, adjusted to your taste.

The Pepperspread is convenient, though, and it packs a decent amount of heat in a little bit of sauce. The green bell pepper adds an extra bit of green color and a little crunch.

Cilantro is always optional. I found a cilantro paste in a tube at the local grocery store, and decided to try it out for this salsa, since fresh leaves would get soggy anyway. If my herb garden was supplying me with cilantro I wouldn't bother with a paste, but the fresh cilantro was a little sad at the grocery store, and I only needed a little bit, so this seemed like a better bargain.

Tropical Pineapple Salsa

1 small can crushed pineapple
1/3 of an English cucumber, diced, or 1 regular cukumber, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons ginger (from a plastic tube) or fresh grated ginger or ginger powder to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime

I wanted a third salsa, and I didn't want to do the usual mango salsa. Mangoes are so fickle at the grocery store. Once in a while I get a good one, but it's a risk.

Canned crushed pineapple makes this one really easy to make. The cucumber adds a little freshness and a bit of crunch. The lime brightens it up, and the ginger adds a kick without being hot in the peppery sense.

Right next to the cilantro in a plastic tube was the ginger in a plastic tube. It was a two-fer price, so it seemed like a good idea. Fresh grated ginger would be stronger, and powdered ginger would have a longer shelf life, but this was perfectly convenient.

1 comment:

Hot Heads Pepperspread said...

All three of these sound great. For a mild tastier salsa the pineapple and cucumber mix sounds awesome. The green tomatillo salsa also make my mouth water....especially with the addition of the Hot Heads Pepperspread. Made one similar to your "cooked" tomato salsa last night and naturally added a generous amount of Hot Heads. Came out great and really easy to make. Thanks for sharing! -Jeff

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