Salsa! (The Food, Not the Dance)

I don’t know how to dance the salsa. I can do some other dances, most of them popular in early 19th-century Russia. I have no aversion to salsa, but I am not so great with this thing child development experts call “motor skills.” But I love salsa of the food variety. Love it.

Salsa is just so wonderfully versatile. There’s this great taqueria in town that has a salsa bar. Apart from the burritos and tacos and tamales, I’d say that the salsa bar is the number one reason to check it out, if only because it provides a wonderful array of salsas that you can try guilt-free.

Let me be clear about guilt-free in these food posts – I am not talking about calories; I am talking about my own feelings of guilt about wasting food. I don’t know where it comes from, but analyzing that is a topic for another post. See, the salsa bar has these tiny little cups, and you can try just as much as you need. Perfect, and the only way I got the guts to try cactus salsa (spoiler alert: it’s worth it).

At home I can’t get so fancy. Well, I could, but it’d require a deep immersion into cactus cooking, and that’s on my summer to-do list. But I have been known to whip up a tasty, fragrant avocado and Poblano pepper salsa. As if last week’s guacamole post wasn’t enough avocado, here it is again!

3 nicely sized, red tomatoes, diced

1/3-1/2 white onion, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 whole avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces

Fresh, chopped cilantro to taste

Roasted Poblano pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces

Jalapeño if you want it spicy (and Serrano pepper if you want it spicier)

Splash of lime juice

Salt and cayenne to taste

Cumin? Do you like cumin? You can add a pinch.

The biggest hurdle when it comes to making your own salsa, apart from being able to find fresh produce, is all the chopping. I like a nice, coarse salsa, so I don’t food process anything, and I am careful not to chop too finely. Once everything is cut, mix it all together. Add the cilantro little by little so you can see when it’s cilantro-y enough for you. As for the lime juice and spices? Add those in small amounts, stir, and then try the salsa. Add more if necessary. Stop when it tastes like heaven.

Also, when dealing with the Poblano pepper, roast it by placing it on a cookie sheet in an oven set at 400 degrees for 8-12 minutes (you can tell it’s done when the skin is all nice and bubbly). You’re going to want to peel the skin because it’s pretty tough and waxy. Place a bowl over the roasted pepper, and let it self-steam for about 15-20 minutes. Then, peel the skin and chop the pepper.

What do you like in your salsa? What’s your favorite salsa?

3 replies on “Salsa! (The Food, Not the Dance)”

I love fruit salsas. Mango, peach, pineapple, and raspberry salsas top my list. I usually just buy them, but in the dead of summer when peaches are abundant I’ve been known to make pico de gallo with finely chopped peaches thrown in. I also love to add black beans, roasted corn and avocados to my salsa. Your poblano/avocado salsa sounds like my kinda dip.

I also love salsa verde, but I’m terrified to try to make it. I’m sure I’d ruin it. I don’t have much experience with tomatillos.

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