Monday, January 19, 2009

How Many "S"es in "Salsa"?

People like my salsa. They ask me for recipes. I never have a very good answer. Salsa simply means "sauce", so there is immense flexibility in making it. There are no fixed ingredients. There are no fixed methods of preparation. For me, it is more of a philosophy than a recipe. I am therefore going to share my philosophy, but first I will share a recipe. This came from my friend, the artist and proud Texan, Susan Medler, who adapted it from the Moosewood Cookbook:

Combine & chill the following:
3 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 scallions, finely minced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
handful of fresh parsely, finely minced
1 t cumin seeds, toasted
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 T lime juice
crushed red pepper to taste
avocado chunks
touch of honey

The above recipe makes a very nice salsa, but it also embodies what I have come to think of as the "Four 'S'es" of salsa. They are: Spice, Savor, Sour, and Sweet. If you stay focused on balancing those elements, then your salsa will be rich and satisfying. Too many people focus on "spice" and "sour." Be sure to balance the bite of the salsa with earthier herbal flavors and a touch of sweetness.

I might add a fifth "s", although it's not related to flavor: "Simple." Although it can be fun to experiment with more time-intensive preparation techniques (caramelized onions or fresh-roasted peppers, for example), it's easy to make a delicious fresh salsa in less than 20 minutes.

Today's writing totals:
Blog: 234 words
Novel: 664 words (plot, plot, plot)
DAILY TOTAL: 898 words

JANUARY RUNNING TOTAL: 8,662/15,500 words

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