With summer coming to a close, I want to use as many fresh vegetables as I can before they disappear and grill as many meals as possible before the weather turns cold. When I put those two thoughts together, I decided to share some salsa recipes with you. Salsas are the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats. Fresh, tangy, and spicy, they stand up to the smokiness and add brightness to every bite.
The first salsa that comes to mind is one made with tomatoes and cilantro. I have taken that one step farther by roasting the ingredients, adding a rich complexity that I love. But salsa goes way beyond just tomatoes, so I’ve also included Mango/Pineapple Salsa, Tomatillo Salsa, Black Bean Salsa, and Corn Salsa! That should take us through into Fall.
Rick Bayless is the reigning king of Mexican food and has a book dedicated to salsas called, “Salsas That Cook.” Rick has won multiple awards including the Julia Child Cookbook of the Year Award for Rick Bayless’ Mexican Kitchen and the first installment of Top Chef Masters. And don’t miss his latest, “Fiesta at Rick’s.” Two of the following salsas are his, and I wouldn’t dream of changing anything – he is after all, the master!
Try these salsas with grilled steak, pork tenderloin, chicken, fish, or turkey – they are all fabulous! If you want to keep to vegetarian, cook up a large Portobello mushroom. You’ll never look at a mushroom the same way again, LOL. And of course all of these would be fantastic wrapped in fresh corn tortillas. All of these can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
Once the weather has turned you can still make these using canned and frozen ingredients. They won’t taste the same, but they will still be delicious. They are the perfect addition to any meal, any time of the year.
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
When you have found several recipes that you enjoy from the same source, start following them. Buy their books, subscribe to their blog, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. You will no doubt find more recipes to try and will be alerted to book signings, personal appearances, cooking classes, and other events. It is always fun to meet authors in person!
- 1 tbsp pureed chipotle en adobo
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 cup (about 2 oz) sun-dried tomatoes, halved (not packed in oil)
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped (generous 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- In a small saucepan, bring the orange juice just to a boil. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, stir well, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand, stirring once or twice, until softened, about 20 minutes.
- Scrape the softened tomatoes with juice into a food processor or blender; add chipotle puree. Pulse the processor until the tomatoes are rather finely chopped. If you want a smoother salsa, continue to pulse until it reaches your preferred consistency. Scrape into a serving bowl. Add the onion, olives, cilantro and lime juice. Stir together, taste and season with salt if needed.
- Yield: about 1-1/2 cups
- 1/2 ripe pineapple or 2 cans pineapple chunks, drained thoroughly
- 1 medium firm ripe mango (or you can use frozen and thawed)
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped fine
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 small jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- Peel and core pineapple. Peel mango and cut flesh from pit. Cut pineapple and mango into 1/4-inch dice and place in a bowl toss with onion and lime juice. Add diced jalapeno, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss thoroughly. Chill salsa, covered, at least 2 hours and up to 24.
- Yield: 2-1/2 cups
- 1/2 oz small hot dried chiles, stemmed
- 6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 lb (10 to 12 medium-size) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
- 2 tbsp finely minced red onion
- About 1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
- Toasting and roasting vegetables: Preheat a broiler.
- In an ungreased skillet over medium heat, toast the chiles, stirring for 1 minute, until they are very aromatic (some will have slightly darkened spots on them). Transfer to a bowl, cover with hot water and rehydrate for 30 minutes.
- In the same skillet, roast the garlic, turning regularly, until soft and blotchy-dark in places, about 15 minutes. Cool and slip off the papery skin.
- Meanwhile, roast the tomatillos on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until soft, even blackened in spots, about 5 minutes on each side. Cool, and then transfer the contents of the baking sheet (including any juices) to a blender or a food processor.
- Finishing the salsa: Drain the chiles and add to the tomatillos along with the garlic. Puree, and then scrape into a serving dish. Stir in enough water to give a spoon-able consistency, usually about 1/4 cup.
- Season with salt, usually 1 tsp, and the optional sugar. Refrigerated, the salsa keeps for several days.
- Yield: about 1-3/4 cups
- Note on chiles: This is one of the most versatile formulas to know, since you can go to practically any grocery store and find at least one variety of small hot dried chile. In a Mexican market (on either side of the border), the possibilities multiply quickly from the nuttiness of Cascabel to the punch of Arbol chiles, the peanutiness of Piquin, and the smoky sweetness of Red Chipotles (Morita). As a rough guide, 1/2 oz dried chiles corresponds to 6 Red Chipotles (Mortas), 4 tan Chipotles, 16 Arbols, 3 Cascabels, or 1/4 cup Piquin.
- 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chopped red onion (about 1 large onion)
- 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 cup pear or grape tomatoes, chopped and drained of excess water
- 1 chipotle pepper, minced
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1-1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
- Preheat your oven to 425°F, with a rack on the top level. Cover a baking dish with tin foil.
- Combine beans, onions, corn, olive oil, jalapeno, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and place on the top rack of the oven. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool.
- Yield: about 4-1/2 cups
- 2 red bell peppers, quartered, seeded
- 3 ears of fresh corn, husked
- 1 bunch green onions, tough tops trimmed
- About 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp bottled chipotle hot sauce or chipotle en adobo sauce
- 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Prepare barbecue (high heat). Brush bell peppers, corn, and green onions with some olive oil. Grill vegetables until well charred in spots, turning occasionally with tongs and removing pieces as they brown, 5 minutes for green onions, 10 to 15 minutes for bell peppers and corn. Cool slightly. Cut bell peppers and green onions into 1/3-inch pieces. Cut corn off cob.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in heavy small skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cumin; sauté until garlic begins to sizzle but does not brown, about 30 seconds. Pour into large bowl; mix in lime juice and hot sauce. Stir in vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool completely; add cilantro and toss thoroughly to combine.
- Yield: about 4 cups