These days, salsa rivals ketchup as America's most popular condiment. No surprise there: Sometimes spicy, sometimes sweet and always tasty, salsa is the perfect compliment to...just about anything! Here are a few of our favorites, check out the recipes and mix up some batches for your Cinco de Mayo festivities.
1. Salsas: Pico de gallo
Pico de Gallo
This raw Mexican medley of chiles, onions and tomatoes is most often served with tortilla chips. the name literally tranlates to "rooster's beak," rumored to be named after the shape of the chiles used to make it.
1 lb. ripe red tomatoes, finely diced (with juice)
½ cup finely diced white onion
½ cup seeded, finely diced cucumber
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro
4 serrano chiles, seeded and very finely diced
1½ tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
In medium, nonreactive bowl, stir together all ingredients to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste. Let stand 30 minutes before serving with tortilla chips or using in any recipe that calls for fresh salsa. Makes about 2 ½ cups.
2. Salsas: Tomatillo Salsa
Otherwise known as salsa verde (or green sauce), tomatillo sauce is made with small green, tart tomatoes native to Mexico and Central America. Pour some over prepared pork—and you'll never eat your pernil without it again.
2 lb. tomatillos
2 garlic cloves
4 serrano chiles
4 oz. yellow onions, chopped
2 oz. cilantro
1/2 cup water
Freshly ground black pepper
In pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook sauce 15 minutes. In blender, puree sauce and season to taste. Makes 8 cups.
3. Salsas: Fire-roasted Salsa
For a deeper, smokier flavored salsa, take the time to roast the tomatoes first before pureeing them into a sauce. This one's great as a dip or as an accent over red meat.
1½ lb. roma tomatoes, divided
¼ cup olive oil
½ yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
10 oz. diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. brown sugar, plus more taste
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Juice from 3 limes
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 375°F. On sheet pans, place 1 lb. tomatoes and roast in oven until skins have cracked and tomatoes are cooked through. Grill remaining 1/2 lb. tomatoes until skins are black. In large bowl, combine roasted and grilled tomatoes. In large sauté pan, add oil and saute onions and garlic until translucent and cooked through. Into bowl with tomatoes add onions and garlic and remaining ingredients. In a blender, puree salsa until well combined. season with additional salt and brown sugar to taste. Makes 4 servings.
4. Salsas: Chipotle Tomato Salsa
Chipotle Tomato Salsa
Chipotle peppers are smoked and dried jalapeño chiles, and they retain all the heat of regular jalapeño chile, así que, cuidado. Serve this one with sauteed veggies, such as nopales.
3 lb. roma tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
2 arbol chiles
1/2 oz. New Mexico chiles
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. white vinegar
3 oz. yellow onions, diced
1/2 oz. cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp. chipotle sauce
In pot, boil 6 cups of water, tomatoes, garlic, arbol chiles and New Mexico chiles for 20 minutes, then drain. In blender, place boiled ingredients and puree. Transfer to bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix by hand. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Makes 6 cups.
5. Salsas: Mango Salsa
Sweet, spicy and completely refreshing, this chunky sauce is best used as a topping on grilled fish. It'll give it just the right amount of kick.
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 tbsp. plus 1 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
2 ½ tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
½ tbsp salt
2 ripe mangoes, cored, peeled and diced into ¼ inch pieces
¼ lb. jicama, diced into ¼ inch pieces
½ cup finely diced red onion
3 jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely diced (leaves seeds in for more heat)
In large nonreactive bowl, stir together cilantro, mint, lime juice and salt. With rubber spatula, fold in remaining ingredients. Adjust salt and lime juice to taste. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with tortilla chips or on grilled fish.