Though the queen of all salsas, pico de gallo (tomatoes, white onions, lime, and cilantro), remains an old-time favorite with a basket of warm tortilla chips, why not try something new? Fruits such as mango, watermelon, and plums get along beautifully with corn, avocados, and onions in savory salsas that enliven grilled seafood, tofu, whole grains, and, yes, chips.
Here are a few tips to help you make some sparkling summertime salsas:
- Use the freshest produce you can find, not canned or frozen.
- Try to balance different sweet, spicy, salty, and acidic flavors you combine, such as sweet melon with spicy onions and zesty lime. Also, consider balancing different textures, such as crunchy red bell pepper with creamy mango.
- Use lots of fresh herbs, such as mint, basil, and cilantro, and add them just before serving to maintain their vibrant color and flavor.
- Use jalapenos or Serrano chiles for added heat, which provide a pleasing contrast to sweeter ingredients such as melons, pineapple, or peaches.
- Use high quality oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, and vinegars, such as champagne or white balsamic for light, clean flavors.
- When cutting ingredients, try to keep them about the same size, which makes the salsa more visually appealing and easier to eat (especially on chips!)
Two of my favorite fresh and flavorful salsas are my Asian Plum and Ginger Salsa and the no cook salsa recipe below.
- 1 cup diced cantaloupe
- 1 cup diced mango
- 1 cup diced red or yellow bell pepper
- ½ cup red or yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
- ½ cup chopped cucumber (peeled and de-seeded)
- 1 ear of fresh sweet corn (cut from cob)
- ¼ cup diced red onion or scallions
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about one small lime)
- Pinch of lime zest
- 1 Tbsp fruity olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger (about a 1-inch sized piece)
- 2 Tbsp minced jalapeno, with or without seeds
- 2 Tbsp each chopped fresh cilantro, mint, and basil
- Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl, and toss gently to blend.
- Combine the lime juice through the salt in a small bowl; whisk until fully blended. Pour on top of the fruit mixture. Allow to rest for at least 45 minutes to an hour so the flavors will mingle. Serve either at room temperature or chilled. Stir in the chopped fresh herbs just before eating so they don’t turn brown.
Serving suggestion: Pair with grilled tofu, meats, such as steak, and seafood, such as shrimp or white fish. Also, try it on top of cooked grains, such as quinoa, couscous, or bulgur wheat.