Tag Archives: salsa

I cannot make it cohere*

If you were to go through the archives, I suspect I would find easily ten different posts all about how my intentions were good and the follow-though, well, lacking.

I can’t help myself.

February didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts for various reasons, including, but not limited to being seriously sick, and who wants to hear about that? Two weeks ago, I got into work only to turn around two hours later—just enough time to get everything in order so that I could work from my apartment. I was back in the office the next day out of necessity, and the long days that followed didn’t help much either. I made power points and pretty things, I wrote pitches. But, each time that I started to write something here, it didn’t quite gel.

The thing is, things are busy, and they’re not likely to change any time soon. I’m searching for a connection here. Maybe it’s my need to present things in a cohesive narrative. What can I say? I’ve been busy. Here are some recipes?

That hardly seems inspiring.

I’ve been cooking a lot—over the weekend, a friend came over for a long over due catch-up. Dinner consisted of red wine, salted caramel ice cream and home made hot fudge. Before then, there was a dinner party for another friend’s birthday. I didn’t get pictures there, although, let’s be honest, my photography skills still need some work. I want to tell you about all of these things. And, the stew that’s currently bubbling away on the stove as I get ready to tackle a shortened work-week.

I’ll get to them in due time. Just bear with me.

Until then, I’ve been busy. Here are some recipes.

Chicken Tacos
Half recipe of Roasted Tomato-Chile de arbol salsa (recipe follows)
1 roasting chicken, 5-6 lbs
1 TBS kosher salt
1 TBS freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and pat the chicken dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower the heat to 350 and roast for another hour, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes.

Once the chicken has cooled slightly, remove the skin and, using two forks or your hands, pull the meat from the bones. Save the carcass for stock.

Combine the pulled chicken with the roasted tomato salsa. Serve with salsa cruda (recipe follows), guacamole

Roasted Tomato Salsa
Recipe courtesy of Simple Food, Big Flavor

4 plum tomatoes
3-6 chiles de arbol (vary to suit your taste)
2 TBS olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your broiler.

Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and cook them, about 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are charred. Set the tomatoes aside to cool. Once the tomatoes have cooled, slip off the skins and remove the cores. Place the tomatoes and all of the juice into a large bowl and roughly chop them.

While the tomatoes are cooling, in a separate dry skillet, heat the chiles de arbol, toasting them until they begin to smoke, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic to the pan, setting it over medium heat and stirring until the onion is soft. This should take approximately 7 minutes. Add the chiles, tomatoes, and water, bringing it to a simmer. Cook for 12 minutes, then let it cool.

When the mixture is room temperature, add it to a blender, along with the cilantro, salt, and pepper. Puree it until the mixture is smooth. Then, run it through a fine mesh strainer so that it is smooth. Serve it at room temperature.

Salsa Cruda
Use this recipe as a guideline, altering ingredients to your taste

1 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, seeds removed, diced
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cilantro, minced

Mix all ingredients together and allow to sit 30 minutes prior to serving, allowing all flavors to meld.

*with apologies to Ezra Pound

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I Once Caught a Fish That Was This Big

What do you do with 60 pounds of tuna?

That question is not, in fact, strictly rhetorical.

Rather, on a recent trip to the Delware Shore, after a particularly successful fishing trip by my companions, I found myself to be the lucky recipient of quite a lot of fish. (There was also a 16 pound dolphin fish. I’ll get to what we did with that at some point later, I hope.)

So, what to do?

Even after gifting all of the neighbors, there was a massive amount. So, tuna salad of course. Which looked lovely, cut up with red onion and celery. And, I’m sure it was, only I cannot stomach the thought of mayonnaise. Then, we froze some. But, how could we not eat it fresh?

And, we did, seared lightly and served with a refreshingly acidic peach salsa.

While your tuna might not be straight from the deep seas, it will be no less enjoyable served this way.

Peach Salsa

3 ripe peaches, diced
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
1 tomato, chopped finely with seeds removed
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the peaches, onion and tomato and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to sit at least five minutes so that the juices begin to run out of the mixture, then add lemon juice and stir. Let stand another 30 minutes before serving.

Seared Tuna

4 tuna steaks, 4-6 oz. each
olive oil
salt and pepper

Coat each of the tuna steaks in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large, heavy skillet until it’s hot enough that you cannot hold your hand above it for more than 5 seconds. Once it’s that hot, place your fish in the pan.

Sear the tuna until it is opaque but not cooked through, about 30 seconds to a minute a side.

Remove from the heat and serve with peach salsa.

Serves 4

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Sweet and Spicy

Salsa, done right, is the ultimate snack food. Light, filled with vegetables—and in this case fruit—and refreshing.

It’s also the kind of food with thousands of variations. Here, the combination of the sweetness from the mangoes and the spiciness from the shallots counterbalance each other, perfectly rounding the salsa. It’s great served simply, just with corn chips, but even better when served over black beans or freshly grilled fish.

The beauty of it is that you can adapt it to suit your tastes. If you want to make it spicier, add in some fresh hot peppers. Or, if you like cilantro (but, really why would you?), chop it up and mix it in. The variations are endless.

One quick note about the instructions before you get started: It may seem fussy to add the ingredients in the order I’ve indicated, but it’s worth it. By adding the shallots and garlic to the lemon juice first, they mellow out slightly, losing some of their bite and adding a more subtle flavor. Likewise, putting salt in early on helps to draw moisture out of the tomatoes, creating a liquid base, so you’re not simply spooning cut up fruit and vegetables onto your chips. Not that there’d be anything wrong with that.

Mango Salsa

1 mango, cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 shallots, finely diced
2 tomatoes, diced with seeds removed
2 TBS lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, minced garlic and diced shallots. Add a pinch of salt and allow to sit at least 5 minutes. This is a good time to start cutting your tomatoes and mangoes.

Add the tomatoes to the lemon/onion mixture and add another pinch of salt. Allow to sit another 5 minutes.

Add the mangoes and stir. Add salt to taste and season with freshly cracked black pepper.

Eat immediately.

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