Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

Boy, has the hot weather landed in Central Missouri! Here’s another recipe to enjoy on sweltery summer days.

This is one of my go-to recipes, a venerable stand-by, a “jackpot” recipe; it’s always there when I need to bring something to a party (those expensive, organic blue corn chips make it seem extra special, so you might pick up a bag of those while you’re at the store).

Sure, there are a ton of excellent recipes for fresh fruit salsas, and as long as you use good, fresh ingredients and taste as you go, you probably can’t go wrong with any of them.

My version and ingredients are shamelessly stolen from the ingredients listed on a package of pineapple salsa from “Seno Rita’s Specialty Foods,” Manhattan, Montana. I bought their salsa a few times back when I lived in Helena, but once I figured out how to make my own, I never bought it again.

One of the lovely things about this recipe is its versatility. You can use it as a condiment with grilled seafood, chicken, or other meat, or (of course) as a dip with chips. I like to use it to perk up leftover rice, beans, and whatever-else in a burrito. I’ve had it over my breakfast eggs, too. Yum-yum!

Someone once told me they loved it so much they would be happy to try it over ice cream . . . but I don’t recommend that.

I won’t give you precise measurements, and the technique is simple. All you do is get a big bowl, then chop up the following into fine, salsa-sized chunks, adding the dressing ingredients, stirring, and adjusting as you see fit. Make it to your own tastes, and remember that the flavors meld best if you let it sit overnight.

Salsa ingredients:
—1 fresh ripe pineapple, peeled and cored (please don’t use canned, or you’ll miss the whole point of the thing)
—red onion: about a quarter to a half of a medium-sized one
—red bell pepper (half to whole, depending on size)
—Serrano pepper (or jalapeno), with or without seeds depending on how hot you like it
—cilantro (I like to use a lot, at least a quarter of a cup chopped)
—garlic, minced or crushed (I use a press); about one clove. Or, use garlic powder.

Dress with:
—white wine vinegar—a few tablespoons
—lime juice—from half a lime
—a pinch of salt—because just about everything you cook gets a little salt
—white pepper—which doesn’t leave black specks in your food
—turmeric—enhances color and adds an unusual flavor. You don’t need much.

A few pretty sprigs of cilantro and a couple of thin-sliced lime rounds make a good garnish.

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