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Hot, Hot, Hot: How to Make the Ultimate Salsa

Posted Jan 23 2009 3:40pm

The term salsa might by synonymous with chips but, realistically, there are plenty of uses for good ol’ salsa. Salsa makes a great filling for omelets, can be used to spice up – and keep moist – oven-baked chicken, to add bulk (and flavor) to burger patties, and even as a substitute for salad dressing. In fact, one source we referenced suggested that the Aztecs awaited the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors with pots of a boiling salsa in the hopes that the invading troops would actually become the main course!

Essentially, the term salsa refers to any cooked or raw sauces inspired by basic tomatoes, chili peppers and spices. Though salsa is usually associated without warmer months and climes, salsa can be a great way to turn up the heat on these cold winter months. The following is one of our favorite recipes for fresh salsa:

Spicy Salsa

Ingredients:
2 large, red ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 anaheim green chili, seeded and cut into thirds
3 green onions, skinned and coarsely chopped
4 oz can of chopped green chilies
1 to 3 whole jalapenos, seeded (this gives the salsa heat, so you’ll want to adjust the number of jalapenos to your own taste!)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
To peel the tomatoes, char lightly under a broiler until peel blisters. Remove from heat and remove the peel, pull out the core, cut tomatoes in half vertically and remove seeds. In a food processor, coarsely chop the garlic, cilantro, green onions and jalapeños. Add all remaining ingredients and process with brief pulses until you reach the desired texture (some like a chunky salsa, others like more of a smooth sauce – make your decision based on what you intend to use the salsa for) Then add salt and pepper to taste and adjust any other ingredients to meet desired taste. Pour into a serving bowl and store in the refrigerator for one hour to chill and allow flavors to mingle.

Yields: 4 servings

Nutritional Analysis:
The nutritional breakdown, courtesy of FitDay.com, for one serving is as follows:

Calories: 70
Fat: 2.5 grams (31% calories from fat)
Carbohydrates: 11.8 grams (59% calories from carbs)
Fiber: 3.4 grams
Protein: 2.6 grams (9% calories from protein)

Do you prefer sweet over heat? Mango salsa is a tasty alternative that can be used to spice up chicken, fish and salads:

Mango Salsa

Ingredients:
1 small mango, peeled and chopped
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Carefully peel mango and slice flesh from seed. Follow above instructions to peel tomato and coarsely chop. In a food processor, combine chopped red onion, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, and lime juice. Pulse until coarsely ground. Add mango and tomato and pulse until desired texture is achieved. Add salt and pepper to taste and adjust any other ingredients as necessary. Pour into serving dish and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Yields: 2 servings

Nutritional Analysis:
The nutritional breakdown, courtesy of FitDay.com, for one serving is as follows:

Calories: 161.5
Fat: 1.2 grams (6% calories from fat)
Carbohydrates: 39.1 grams (89% calories from carbs)
Fiber: 8.7 grams
Protein: 5.3 grams (8% calories from protein)

windelbo Flickr Photo (CC)
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