Wednesday, May 2, 2012

An Almost Cinco de Mayo Salsa Cruda

Cinco de Mayo, or as I like to call it "Mexican St. Patrick’s Day," is almost here, and as everyone knows, the cornerstone of any great CDM celebration is the salsa cruda. It has to be homemade, and it has to be awesome. Actually, if you serve enough margaritas you could get away with store-bought, but for the sake of this post, let’s just go with it.

Salsa cruda simply means a raw sauce, and that’s really the only rule. This is also commonly called “pico de gallo,” which means “rooster's beak,” apparently because it was originally eaten by “pecking” or pinching small portions from the bowl with your thumb and forefinger. I’m going to ask that you please use a chip.

I’d say my formula is fairly standard, except for the cherry/grape tomatoes and the mint. Unless you’re blessed with a bounty of real, sweet, vine-ripened tomatoes, your best bet for a world class salsa is cherry tomatoes. While not a perfect substitute, they'll have the most similar flavor to the aforementioned summer treat. The mint brings a subtle, sweet twist and even more refreshing finish.

One word of warning: make twice as much as you think you are going to need…this stuff is seriously addictive. By the way, as I just informed my faithful followers on YouTube, I pronounce, “salsa,” “sal-za,” simply because I find it more festive. Enjoy!

1 1/2 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into a small dice
1/2 cup finely diced white onion
1 or 2 large jalapenos, seeded, minced
1 serrano pepper, seeded, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
About 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
2 tbsp minced mint leaves
1/4 tsp dry oregano
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
pinch of sugar
pinch of cayenne
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

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