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Salsa, the other sauce!

July 8th, 2012
by Bernard Kinsella

For me, cooking is the occasion to be open to new ideas and stimulate my imagination. The great thing about cooking is anyone can do it! When I cater, I discuss food trends, likes, dislikes and most importantly seasonal ingredients with clients. When I teach sessions we discuss shopping habits, storing and use of ingredients, for optimal pleasure. (Yes-food is pleasure!) When I present the final dish, I know my recipients obtain energy, satisfaction and are, for the most part….delighted.

This week’s market excursion and recipe development inspired me to come up with some different salsas. They were to garnish/accompany some main ingredients for a future event. When I create recipes I think through the use of each ingredient. Of course, I try to identify the ease of preparation and yield of the recipe. Considering, most fresh ingredients once they are cut have about a three day shelf life.

Today we have salsas! What I like about them is that they provide an alternative to a sauce. They can be crisp, cold, or warm. They should compliment what you are serving. The first is a Red Bean & Green Tomato: goes well with grilled steak, chicken or fish. I mixed it with some fresh salad and served it like that as well. Give it a try….

Red Bean and Green Tomato Salsa                                                                         Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients:

1-15oz. can Red beans, rinsed and drained

¼ cup diced Red onion, ¼” pieces

2 medium green tomatoes, cut in quarters, seeded and cut in ¼” dice pcs

1 Serrano pepper, seeded and diced ¼”

1 large yellow squash, (use only the outside skin) and cut into ¼” dice pcs

4 scallions, rinsed, remove both ends and chopped fine,

1 T. Lime juice

2 T. garlic oil

Salt and fresh pepper to taste

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, rough chopped

Procedure:

  1. In a food processor, coarsely chopped the red beans. Transfer to a glass bowl.
  2. In a medium sauté pan on high heat, add the oil. Reduce the temperature to medium and add the onion, pepper, tomato and squash. Sauté for 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the beans and season with the lime juice, salt/pepper and cilantro. Toss to combine and refrigerate for at least 1 hr or overnight.

Serve with a grilled entrée or blend with some fresh greens, for a salad. Or, serve with some crunchy blue and gold tortilla chips! You have great colors, wonderful flavors and some ingredients that you may not have combined before to make a new recipe.

 

Avocado-Feta Salsa

Ingredients:

1 Large avocado, cut in half, remove the skin and seed

2 plum tomatoes, cut in half and seeded

¼ cup red onion, diced medium

1 clove garlic minced

1 T. fresh chopped parsley

1t. fresh oregano leaves, chopped fine

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 t. Red wine vinegar

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Procedure:

  1. Slice the Avocado into thin strips, and dice. Repeat with the plum tomato and place in a glass bowl.
  2. Add the next six ingredients and toss to combine.
  3. Gently mix the cheese in. Serve with fish prepared any way you enjoy.

Another Salsa I came up with is a Fennel and Chayote Squash, taste great and goes well with chicken or fish. It has just a bit of curry in it for a refreshing flavor.

Another use for fruit I enjoy is salsa as a garnish for sorbets, ice-cream or a slice of angel food cake.

I think our readers would love your comments and recipes you have tried. If you would like the Fennel and Chayote squash or a fresh fruit variation let me know.

Ciao-

Chef Bernard

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