Since Summer vacations are more or less over and the kids are back in school, not to mention Football season has commenced. This week’s #SpicyChat theme is about ‘Quick & Easy‘ Meals. Keeping that in mind, I am sharing few of my To Go Salsas. Salsa is a deliciously versatile condiment, made with the ubiquitous tomato to bacon or corn. Salsa is a fantastic way to add fresh, bold flavors to a variety of dish including the classic Mexican dishes to grilled meat, fish, and chicken. Just keep in mind that a little goes a long way since my versions air on the HOT side!
I know, I know, I am big advocate of slow and complex cooking. Hours of stirring and braising equals good eats but some times there just isn’t that many hours in the day. That said, I know store brought salsas are rather popular. Buy a can, pop it open and lo behold you have one less thing to worry about for your party. I am here to remind you that home-made fresh salsas are so much more flavorful, are in fact cheaper, and most importantly are remarkably EASY to make. So next time you are looking to cook a satisfying and interesting dish on a tight schedule, try my easy salsas to brighten up your party with bold flavors.
A quick tip – I always roast my chilies. Roasting may add some time to an otherwise quick process, but roasting adds a hint of sweetness and smokiness that elevates a simple salsa by adding depth.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
This healthy take on the traditional tomato is nearly fat-free and super-refreshing. Tomatillos are low-calorie and vitamin-rich and this recipe is delicious as a salsa itself as well as a condiment for your grilled meats and fish. The beauty of home-made salsas are that you can improvise and use what ever is in hand. I use Serrano chilies but you can easily substitute them for jalapeno, poblanos, or even Thai chilies based on your spice tolerance.
- 1 lb tomatillos, husked removed, rinsed
- 1 red onion, chopped in half
- 7-8 serrano chilies
- 2 garlic cloves
- handful of cilantro or mint (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- dash of sugar
- splash of lime
- Broil tomatillos, garlic, chilies, and onion until slightly charred, 5-7 minutes.
- Puree in a blender with herbs.
- Season with salt, pepper, sugar, and lime to taste.
Grilled Pineapple – Habenero Salsa
Fiery and fruity, this salsa will please the heat lovers. It’s a touch of sweetness with a bold finish and hint of that something which you can’t put a finger on but can’t stop digging in it too. Another key to this recipe is grilling the pineapple. It adds a hint of smokiness elevating the sweetness of the ripe fruit; pair it with a hot habenero – its irresistible.
- 1/2 pineapple, cored, cut into thick slices
- 8 oz. pineapple juice
- 1-2 habenero peppers
- 2 star anise pods
- 1 tbs honey
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Grill the pineapple slices till charred or you can broil them too.
- Add the remaining ingredients with the charred pineapple in a medium bowl and bring to boil. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
- Remove the star anise pods. Puree in a blender and taste for seasonings.
My family uses this salsa as a hot sauce for tacos, especially with sea food. Throw in some mint or rosemary leaves while pureeing the salsa. I relish pairing mint with fresh fruits, it simply brightens up the dish.
So what’s your favorite salsa ingredients or do you have that ‘secret’ ingredient that elevates your dip to new heights? I would love to hear about all your innovative creations. Just remember, that you don’t always need to spend hours slaving over one dish. Some times, all you need is a bit of spice to liven up the party.
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