Introduction: How to Make Salsa
A combination of fresh and canned ingredients make this salsa a tasty treat year-round.
Step 1: Gather at the Grocery Store
Considering the visual effect of the salsa-deliciousness, I aim for a full array of colors in my salsa. That also helps at the grocery store -- you can gather ingredients without a written list. Here's what I generally go for:
One large can (or two regular sized ones) of diced, low-salt tomatoes** (I go for the organic ones if I can find them)
One large red bell pepper***
Two - Three full-sized carrots, or two-handfuls of the peeled, baby carrots
One large orange bell pepper
Two ears fresh corn OR
One can, low-salt yellow (or yellow and white) corn
One large yellow bell pepper
One - two jalapeno peppers
One big bunch of cilantro
Limes (the amount of limes you include depends on your personal taste ... I usually do 3 - 4)
One medium-sized red onion
One medium-sized jicama root (This is key -- it gives the salsa a "fresh" crunch.)
** I know, I know ... you're thinking "Seriously - CANNED tomatoes?" To which I reply, yes ... canned tomatoes. They're good all year long, and the juice in the can adds to the consistency of the salsa. Trust me. Canned tomatoes.
*** I included here bell peppers of all colors (except green -- they're too bitter), but it's really a personal choice. Add the ones you like. I generally try to include the orange ones, since that gives an additional color when the salsa's all finished.
Step 2: Gather Your Tools at Home
Basically, all you need is a can opener, a peeler, a good knife and cutting board, and a really big bowl.
Step 3: Start Chopping
Okay -- open your large can of tomatoes and dump it in the bowl, juice and all. Then, open your can of corn (if you got canned), drain it and add it to the bowl.
Time to chop -- I like to coarsely chop all my other ingredients. You can also put them in a food processor, but it makes the salsa too "smooth" for my taste ... I like the chunks, so I chop.
Rinse and set out your bell peppers, carrots, jalapenos, onion, and jicama. (If you went with fresh corn, get that out, too.) Chop the bell peppers, carrots, and onions and add them to the bowl.
For the jalapenos, carefully seed the pepper and then finely chop it. You can control the heat level of the salsa by the amount of jalapeno seeds and "white spongy bits" you choose to leave in. (You can also experiment with a variety of other peppers for different heat and flavor options.) Throw the pepper in your bowl.
To do the jicama, you first have to peel the thick skin off. Then, once you've got a naked jicama, cube it and add it to the bowl.
If you've got fresh corn, husk it, peel away all the little hairs, and run your knife down the side to get the kernels off. They don't need to be cooked -- just toss them in the bowl.
Step 4: Season to Taste
You've got all the basic bits in your bowl. Now it's time to flavor up the salsa. I like a LOT of cilantro, so I always use the whole bunch (minus the stems). If you're a more timid cilantro-ite, use less.
Put your limes in the microwave (whole) for 10 - 15 seconds. Then roll them on your counter top to loosen up the juices.(Careful -- they're hot!) Cut your limes in half and squeeze the juices into the bowl.
Stir and taste.
Now you tinker ... add more lime juice or a bit of salt according to your palate.
Step 5: Refrigerate
The salsa gets better after the flavors have had time to meld. (Like a good soup, always better the second day!) Let it rest for an hour or two in the fridge, and then re-taste. You may find after the hour or so that it needs still more lime or a smidge more salt.
Step 6: Serve It Up
Once you're happy with the flavors, grab the bag of chips and dive right in. This salsa keeps well in the fridge for at least 4 days (I can't say if it would last longer -- we always eat it too quickly to find out.)
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Burning Questions: Round 6