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You asked for it

Salsas to make any dish dance

By ANNE LONG
Published August 6, 2003

Pat Fry asked for recipes for Mexican marinades and salsas. Readers have shared a delightful assortment of favorites.

Celinda Garcia sends her recipes for marinade and for salsa verde and salsa pico de gallo, along with suggested uses for them. Virginia Walsh notes that her salsa picante recipe was "graciously given by Jose Marcus, a talented Mexican chef."

Three delightful salsa recipes using fresh fruits and vegetables are from one of Mollie Katzen's Moosewood cookbooks.

Thanks goes to regular contributor Nancy Eggert for sending them. We are including the following paragraph: "Great as a dip for chips, with any bean dish, next to omelets, with plain rice, on top of tostadas, or in partnership with bean dip or guacamole. If you eat chicken or fish, try serving the pineapple or mango salsa alongside; they make exquisite relishes."

For: Pat Fry of Crystal Beach.

From: Celinda Garcia of St. Petersburg.

Recipe: Mexican Marinade.

Mexican Marinade

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/4 cup white vinegar

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Pinch of ground cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt to taste

In a blender, grind all ingredients. Rub raw meat with this mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least three hours before cooking. Cook as desired.

Recipe: Salsa Verde.

Salsa Verde

1 cup raw tomatillos

2 jalapenos

4 cups water

1/4 cup cilantro sprigs

1/4 medium white onion

Salt to taste

Remove husks from tomatillos and rise them well. In a medium saucepan, place tomatillos, jalapenos and water. Simmer until soft, about 20 minutes. Let them cool.

In a blender, grind cooled tomatillos with jalapenos and the rest of the ingredients.

Use this salsa for quesadillas or chicken tacos.

Recipe: Salsa Pico de Gallo.

Salsa Pico de Gallo

2 ripe tomatoes, minced

2 jalapenos, minced

1 cup cilantro sprigs, finely chopped

3/4 medium onion, minced

Salt to taste

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime, seeded

Mix all ingredients.

This salsa is good with grilled beef or chicken, or with chips.

From: Virginia Walsh of Largo.

Recipe: Jose's Salsa Picante from chef Jose Marcus.

Jose's Salsa Picante

2 28-ounce cans tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 large ripe tomato, diced (optional)

1/2 red onion, diced

4 cloves fresh garlic, minced

3 to 4 fresh jalapenos, seeded and minced (or more to taste)

Juice and pulp of 1/2 lime

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

A little salt, to taste

Mix together all ingredients. It is even better the next day. From: Nancy Eggert of Dunedin.

Recipe: Pineapple Salsa from Moosewood by Mollie Katzen.

Pineapple salsa

2 cups minced fresh (or canned-in-juice) pineapple

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh mint

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Cayenne, to taste

Combine all ingredients, cover tightly and refrigerate. This keeps several weeks in the refrigerator.

Yield: 2 cups.

For an exotic taste sensation, try spooning a little of this onto a bowl of black bean soup.

Recipe: Mango Salsa.

Mango Salsa

2 tablespoons finely minced red onion

2 cups boiling water

1 ripe mango, about 11/2 cups small dice

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 medium clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Cayenne, to taste (optional)

Place the minced onion in a small strainer over a bowl. Slowly pour the boiling water over the onion, then let it sit for 5 minutes. This will soften its bite, and turn it a striking shade of purple-pink.

Combine onions with remaining ingredients and mix gently.

Cover tightly and refrigerate. Yield: 11/2 cups. Recipe: Tomato Salsa.

Tomato Salsa

3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes

2 scallions, finely minced

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

A handful of parsley, finely minced

A handful of cilantro, finely minced

1 teaspoon lightly toasted cumin seeds

3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Crushed red pepper, to taste

Drop the tomatoes into simmering water for 10 seconds. Take them out, pull off the skins and squeeze out the seeds.

Dice the remaining pulp. Combine tomatoes with remaining ingredients in a small bowl or container. Cover tightly and chill. Yield: 11/2 to 2 cups.

Note: To toast the cumin seeds, use a small skillet over a low flame or a toaster oven. With either method, watch them carefully so they won't scorch.

Recipe requests

Kay Krug of Seminole writes that she and her family think the shrimp and linguine served at Shell's Restaurant in Redington Shores and Clearwater is the best they ever had.

Any chance of getting the recipe?

You Asked for It is a reader mail column. If you have a cooking question or the answer to someone else's question, write to: You Asked for It, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Be sure to include your full name, city and phone number with your letter. Letters without this information will be discarded. Requests cannot be answered by phone or mail.

[Last modified August 5, 2003, 10:13:23]

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