GateHouse News ServiceWhether used for dunking a tortilla chip or topping a steak, homemade salsa packs an exciting burst of summer flavor.
And here are five more reasons to love homemade salsa:
1. Salsa helps deplete a garden bounty.
2. Made of fresh veggies and fruits, salsa is full of healthful nutrients. And it’s generally low fat and low calorie.
3. Salsa is super easy to make. If you can chop, slice and dice, you can make salsa.
4. Salsa is cheap. Fresh fruits, veggies and herbs are at an all-time low this time of year, so making salsa won’t break your bank.
5. Salsa is incredibly versatile. You can enjoy it in dishes from breakfast to dinner. Use it to top scrambled eggs or a breakfast burrito, enjoy it as a appetizer with tortilla chips, or serve it as a condiment with fish, pork, beef and poultry.
Most folks have their own favorite tomato salsa, so we decided not to include a traditional salsa recipe here. Instead, we have five unusual salsa recipes, including bean pepper, cucumber and zucchini.
My favorite comes from Ann Dwyer, a caterer from Louisville. I tried her salsa at a party I attended the summer, and her dish was the foodie talk of the event.
“I use it quite often in catering jobs because people go wild over it,” Dwyer said.
Once you follow the basic recipe, feel free to tweak it, Dwyer says.
“I add little bits of fresh fruit, especially peaches, but you can use any kind,” she said. “Sometimes I use crushed pineapple or pineapple tidbits.”
If you don’t like heat, leave out the chilies; if you like spice, add two cans of chilies instead of one; or throw in a chopped jalapeño.
Dwyer recommends adding fresh cilantro, but not everyone is a fan of the pungent herb, so consider serving it on the side for self-serve sprinkling.
Dwyer makes her own tortilla chips, but if you don’t have any homemade on hand, she recommends tortilla or corn scoops for easy eating.
1 (14-15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained1 (14-15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 (14-15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 (14-15 ounce) can white shoepeg corn, drained
1 8-oz. can of chopped green chilis, drained
1 chopped red onion
1 diced bell pepper or a mix of red, yellow and orange peppers
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
Optional: 1 cup diced fresh or canned peaches, or consider pineapple or other fresh fruits.
Optional: Minced cilantro.
Combine first seven ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine red wine vinegar, sugar and canola oil and microwave just to dissolve sugar, about 1 - 2 minutes. Add to bean mixture and stir to blend. Refrigerate.
In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and seasoned salt. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
-- Taste of Home
CORN AND ZUCCHINI SALSA
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup coarsely chopped zucchini
1 cup seeded and chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
Combine vinegar, oil, cumin and garlic; mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate. Serve with fish, grilled meats, scrambled eggs, tortilla chips, etc.
BELL PEPPER SALSA
2 large bell peppers, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped
6 green onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped arugula
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve with steak, grilled sausage or pork chops.