This is the second post in a series on salsas.
Salsa isn’t just for corn chips any more. This was my sudden mind-blowing, earth-shattering realization. It came way back during my college days after a working interview at one very famous Southwestern restaurant. They fed me dinner—a grilled tenderloin steak smothered in a smokey salsa—in exchange for my night’s work. I had only ever eaten steak plain, and my life would never be the same. I got the job. But more importantly, I opened my eyes to the possibilities of salsa.
Salsas, whether they’re made from chiles, tomatoes, tomatillos, avocados, or fruit, are an integral part of Mexican and Southwestern cuisines. They vary from mild to medium to spicy, and they can be served hot, at room temperature, or cold. Salsas can function as either dip or sauce (in fact, salsa is Spanish for sauce), and they are the perfect accompaniment to everything from eggs to tacos to rice and beans. They can transform a simple grilled steak, pork chop, chicken breast, fish fillet, or even veggie into a spectacular meal. It’s no wonder that salsa has overtaken ketchup as the most popular condiment in the U.S.
But while I’m singing the praises of salsa, I want to make clear that I mean homemade, from-scratch salsa. Homemade salsa is vibrant and fresh and delicious and healthy, and it can perk up anything you put it on. (In comparison, the store-bought stuff is appallingly expensive and completely tasteless.) And if there’s a batch in the fridge, it’s sure to inspire many amazing meals.
2 ripe Hass avocados
6 Serrano chiles, seeded and diced
¾ cup packed cilantro
2 cups water
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Halve, pit, and peel the avocados. Combine the avocados, Serranos, cilantro, water, and lime juice in a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt.
Makes about 3 ½ cups. Heat level: mild. If you like it hotter, leave the seeds in some or all of the Serranos. This light and refreshing salsa is especially good with seafood. Keeps for a day or two tightly sealed in the refrigerator—browning is only slight. Serve at room temperature.
More salsa recipes are available here.