Tag Archives: salsa

Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa

16 May

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Foods can oftentimes lead double lives. A cake can masquerade as a bread (there are many instances of this), a breakfast can go undercover as a dessert, or vice versa, and a salsa can brand itself as such, when, in actuality, what it really happens to be is a salad. A hearty, healthy, super satisfying salad.

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The ever-changing identity of this salsa is, I think, one of its best attributes. Introduced to me by my sister-in-law, one of the first things I remember thinking about this salsa was, “I want to smear this on some bread and pile arugula on top of it.” I often think things like this, which is what, I assume separates me from people who just eat food that tastes good and then leave it at that. Sometimes I see food and immediately want to turn it into different food, but not because I think the original incarnation of that food is in any way bad. On the contrary, I am driven to play around with said food because it is so delicious, so multifaceted, that I think it should be given the chance to shine in every way possible.

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A salsa like this, hearty with savory roasted sweet potatoes and onions, can be moved in several directions. With chunks of fresh avocado and tomato, it certainly works as an appetizer to be scooped up by tortilla chip, but, piled on top of a bed of greens, it would also make a great salad. You can fold in some black beans and take it to a potluck as a summer salad to share. You can, as I mentioned before, slather it on lightly toasted bread and top it with some arugula and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Of course, you can also eat it as is, with no tortilla chips, which is what I initially did after mixing it together, taking a taste, then discovering that I was finding it difficult to stop tasting. Because even though this salsa makes a great starting point for many different dishes, it also happens to be pretty darn fantastic on its own.

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Last Year: Mexican Chocolate Zucchini Muffins and Spicy Ginger Garlic Potatoes and My Favorite Raita

Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa

Adapted from an Everyday Food recipe shared by my sister-in-law

1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and diced into small chunks

1 medium red onion, diced into small chunks

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium tomato, diced into small chunks

1 medium avocado, diced into small chunks

1 small jalapeno pepper, finely diced, ribs and seeds removed it you want to tone down the spice. Alternately, you can just add 1/8-¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes if you don’t have a jalapeno pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

¼ cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)

sea salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. On a large baking sheet, toss together the sweet potato chunks, diced red onion, and olive oil. Roast in the center of the oven until the sweet potato is tender and browned in spots, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool completely.

When sweet potato mixture has cooled, add tomato, avocado, jalapeno or red pepper flakes, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt and toss to combine.

Makes about 4 cups of salsa.

Grilled Pineapple and Jalapeño Salsa

9 Jul

This recipe was sort of an accident.  Have you ever started thinking about something or doing something and then, the more you thought about or continued to do that thing, the more entrenched you became in the very specifics of that thing?  (I sincerely hope I am not the only person who possesses this particular trait…though I would not be at all surprised if I was).  Well, that’s what happened with this salsa.

It started out so innocently.  I found some lovely fresh pineapple at the market.  When I got the pineapple home, I decided that I would eat it with my lunch.  Then I decided that I would have some grilled fish for lunch.  Then I decided that I would put the pineapple on the grilled fish.  Wait, no.  I would make a pineapple salsa, because I also had an aging jalapeño on hand that I wanted to use up.  Hold on—if I am going to be grilling some fish, why not also grill the pineapple?  Grilled pineapple is wonderful.  I’ll do that.

I wonder what would happen if I also grilled the jalapeño?  And these onions?  Hey, look—I just spotted the bread on the counter and, man, doesn’t a sandwich sound great right about now?  I know, I’ll grill everything!  Fish, pineapple, jalapeño, onions, bread—everything!

And do you know that?  I don’t think I have ever benefitted so much from a thought process that was not so much a process as it was a series of linked ideas that, lucky for both you and me, totally worked out.  Obviously, this worked out for me because I had a phenomenal lunch that day.  It works out for all of you, because now you too can have the same phenomenal lunch that I did, only you’ll have a much better idea of how things are going to turn out.  They are going to turn out to be delicious, I promise you.

Last Year: Indian Spiced Smoked Spareribs

Grilled Pineapple and Jalapeño Salsa Recipe

1 or 2 fresh jalapeños (depending on how spicy you want your salsa, though I find that grilling the jalapeños greatly tempers their heat—I used 1 jalapeño, but I wished I had used 2), sliced in half lengthwise, seeds and ribs removed (or, for even more heat, set aside the seeds and add them in later when everything gets mixed in together)

¼ of a red onion, separated into layers

10 ounces fresh pineapple, sliced into long strips

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

juice of ½ a lime

salt to taste

Heat an outdoor grill or a stovetop grill pan over medium high heat.  Lightly oil grates.  When grill or grill pan is heated, place onion layers and sliced jalepano on grill.  Grill until the onions are soft and sweet and the jalapenos are just starting to turn dark at the edges, about 5 minutes, turning once.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Place pineapple strips on the grill, and grill until just starting to caramelize, about 3 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Allow all three ingredients to cool to room temperature.

When cooled, finely dice both onion and jalapeno.  Dice pineapple in to ½-inch chunks.  Combine in a medium bowl, along with cilantro, lime juice, and salt.  Toss everything to combine, and add more lime juice and salt as you see fit.

To make a grilled tuna steak sandwich to accompany your salsa, heat your grill over high heat.  Oil the grates.  Take 1 large tuna steak and cut it in half horizontally, making two thinner tuna steaks.  Season both sides of each steak with salt and pepper.  Place tuna steaks on oiled grill and grill until the very middle of each steak is still pink, about 1 minute per side.  As you cook your tuna steak, you will see the color change, becoming paler as it moves up the steak.  When you grill the first side, you will know to flip the steak over when the pale color has moved about halfway up the steak.  After you flip the steak it will only take another 60 seconds or so to finish cooking the steak.  The fish will continue to cook a bit after you remove it from the grill.

To assemble a sandwich, place a grilled tuna steak on a piece of grilled or toasted bread.  Top with slices of avocado, a large scoop of salsa, then place another piece of grilled or toasted bread on top.  Slice in half for easier eating.  So delicious.

Creamy Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa

24 Oct

Though an avid appreciator of salsa in its chunky, vegetable-laden form, I’ve never really been able to get behind salsas and dips of the creamy variety.  I don’t know if it’s a texture issue or what, but dipping a crispy fried chip into a bowl of creamy sauce has always felt sort of odd.  The two dispositions of the chip and dip are so different, and yet so uniformly rich, it just feels like gilding the lily to combine one with the other.  At least, that’s what I used to think, until I innocently whipped up a batch of this super creamy, super flavorful salsa and, oh, man, I now think there can never be enough of this salsa available in the world at any given time.  Mark my words, if I know this salsa is available anywhere, at any time, I am going on a one-woman mission to find it and eat it.  All of it.

This salsa is other-worldly.  The absolutely spot-on spiciness of the jalapenos is expertly balanced by the cool creaminess of the avocado and sour cream, and the tartness of the tomatillos and citrus works effortlessly to round everything out.  With bunches of fresh herbs and just the right amount of kicky garlic, I don’t think there is a more perfect creamy salsa in existence.  It’s cool, spicy, and complex, and it practically begs to dress up a crisp, cold salad.  I am also willing to bet that this salsa, folded into a pile of freshly poached or grilled chicken that has been shredded and combined with some punchy chunks of bell pepper, would make the best chicken salad known to all of humankind.  If I hadn’t already eaten all of this particular batch of salsa you see here, I would be making that exact chicken salad right now.  Which reminds me, I need to buy some more avocados.  And tomatillos.  And sour cream.  Excuse me, I have to go now.

I still can’t say I am a convert to all creamy salsas and dips (my preference still sits firmly in the chunky vegetable camp), but this entry into the fray certainly goes a long way towards persuading me that perhaps I should pay a little more attention to the world of creamy salsas.  If they taste half as good as this salsa, I can only imagine what I’ve been missing out on all these years.

Creamy Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa

From Claire’s Corner Copia Cookbook

2 fresh jalapeno peppers

4 fresh tomatillos (or green tomatoes, if you’re looking for a use for them)

2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted

½ small yellow onion, chopped

1 cup chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

¼ cup chopped cilantro

4 large cloves garlic, chopped

juice of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lime

1 cup sour cream (the original recipe called for low fat, but I used full fat and it was just fine)

salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, cover the jalapenos and tomatillos (or green tomatoes) with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Cook at a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat, drain, and allow to cool slightly.

In a blender or food processor, combine the cooked jalapenos and tomatillos, avocado flesh, onion, parsley, cilantro, garlic, and lemon and lime juice.  Blend or process on low speed for 20 seconds until pureed, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.  Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the sour cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you desire a less spicy salsa (though this is not what I would call a super spicy salsa, it definitely has a bit of a kick to it), you can cut open the jalapenos after cooking and scrape out the seeds.  Your salsa will still have some spice to it, but it will be markedly less so than if you had left the seeds intact.

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