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Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014
South Shore News

It’s time to break out the chips and salsa


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We eat salsa as much as most people eat ketchup or mustard.

I use it to replace typical, classic sauces that seem so obvious and boring. Salsas have so little fat, I’ve spooned them on everything from burgers and steaks to tacos and baked potatoes.

This amazing blend of sweet and heat is also amazing over fish or chicken.

Every batch I make is similar, but no two batches are exactly alike. I make a mild batch sometimes, with zero to one pepper. For extra kick, I make a spicier version adding more peppers. My salsa can please, tease or hurt you, depending how many jalapenos I want to use.

So let me introduce you to the easiest salsa you’ve ever met.

With strawberry season still in full swing, chances are you’re buying lots of them. You are, aren’t you? That also means you likely have a few soft or slightly bruised berries that are good enough to eat but not pristine enough to showcase on the top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream or shortcake.

I created a strawberry-cilantro salsa that gets tons of flavor from not only its namesake ingredients, but also jalapeno, lime and onion. It’s absolute heaven if you ask me.

But if strawberry and cilantro don’t work for you, this versatile recipe works great with plenty of alternatives.

You could substitute an equal amount of just about any fresh fruit – diced apples, mangos, orange segments or pineapple. During the holidays I love to substitute fresh cranberries. Serve with lime-flavored or multi-grain tortilla chips and you’ve got yourself a party.

Speaking of parties, things are heating up at the Good Samaritan Mission in Wimauma, as organizers prepare for their annual Family Salsa Fest from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 29. The festival will be at the the mission at 14920 Balm Wimauma Road.

As you know, there are two types of salsa – the food and the dance. Both will be glorified at the festival, which will include a salsa-making contest. So if you think your salsa is hot – the dip, not the dance – here’s your chance.

Festival-goers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite amateur salsa. Sounds kinda spicey! For information, visit www.familysalsafestival.com.

Drop the chulupa, baby. It’s time to celebrate salsa!

Lynn Kessel is a freelance food columnist. For more of her recipes, visit southshore.tbo.com and enter the search words Lynn Kessel.

Strawberry-Cilantro Salsa

1 pound strawberries, hulled and finely chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 fresh jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (seeded, if desired)

In a large bowl, toss together strawberries, cilantro, lime juice, salt, green onions and pepper. Let sit so the flavors can merry. That’s it! I told you it was easy.

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