Its that time of year again when backyard gardens, farm stands and markets and are overflowing with of freshest and most delicious summer produce. From tomatoes, summer squash and corn to melons, berries and stone fruits, there are endless delicious opportunities to make good use of the abundance. Therefore, why not trying out a new kind of fresh salsa?
Get Creative with Fresh Salsa
Most people associate salsa being made with tomatoes, but there are many more ways to create your own. With a basic recipe framework, you can create an endless variety. All you need is:
- A fruit or vegetable base (single or mixed)
- An aromatic: garlic, onion, scallion, shallot or ginger
- Citrus juice: lemon, lime or orange
- Raw or roasted peppers: jalapeno, serrano, green chiles, sweet bells, chipotle, etc.
- A fresh herb: usually cilantro or mint
Still not sure where to start? Consider a combination of cucumber-avocado, grilled corn-tomato, or mango-black bean. Try to use ingredients that will create a rainbow of color that creates a feast for the eyes as well as taste buds. You can grill or roast some of the ingredients to add a depth of flavor. If you are wary of the amount of chopping a fresh salsa requires, try using a food processor to speed up the process. Use the pulse or chop function just a few times which can lead to a great uniform size of ingredients in no time.
Fresh salsa recipes are not formulated for canning. Home canned salsa recipes are a mixture of low-acid foods, such as onions and peppers, acid foods, such as tomatoes, plus vinegar or other added acid. Only use tested recipes to ensure proper acidification if home canning. Otherwise use salsa fresh immediately, refrigerate for up to four days or preserve by freezing.
If you do use tomatoes, you can drain them after chopping to make the salsa thicker or use meatier varieties like Roma which have more flesh and less juices. Salsas are also a great way to experiment with heirloom tomatoes which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, flavors and textures.
Above all, don’t forget that salsa isn’t just for chips! Serve your new creations over eggs, with tacos, quesadillas, polenta or vegetables. Or try them served over grilled meat and fish. They can also be used as a garnish for summer soups or on top of salads instead of dressing. Give this simple and tasty salsa a try to get you started!
2 cups diced (1/4 inch) cantaloupe (from a 2 1/4-lb piece)
1/4 cup diced (1/4 inch) red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1 (2-inch-long) fresh hot red or green chile (skip the seeds if you want to dim the heat), minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Wash hands and utensils (knives and cutting boards) before and after handling produce. Specifically, wash the outside of the melon with a clean vegetable brush under cool running water and dry with a clean paper towel before dicing. Mix everything and eat immediately. Makes about 2 cups of salsa. Source: SmittenKitchen.com