All of us are good at something. Now don’t hang your head and shuffle your feet, “psshh…I ain’t good at NUthin’. We all have one, or two show stoppers. Even if your audience is preschoolers.
My talent is salsa.
(Not the dance. Although there WAS a time when this Midwest girl demonstrated some serious Latin flavor in the sweaty basement of Cafe Sevilla)
But the sauce. And I will not be humble. I make the best salsa I’ve ever had.
Apparently, the good people of my community think so too. You’re looking at the defending champion of our farmers market Sassy Salsa Challenge.
What’s the secret to Entry #2?
There is no one secret. I’ve lived among Southern California and New Mexican natives. I’ve observed chefs in four star restaurants and Mexican moms in leaky kitchens. I have discerning taste buds.
But to appease the roar of the masses, I give you three guiding principles:
1) ROAST, GRILL OR SAUTE some ingredients. Roast the tomatoes, peppers and onions as the base. Or add grilled corn. If you have fresh, firm tomatoes, keep them raw and but add sautéed onion and garlic.
2) ADD RAW AND FRESH. Freshly squeezed lime juice and chopped cilantro are almost mandatory in my salsa. Try raw red onion. Avocado. Mango. Keep the garlic raw. That’s just crazy. Your immune system will love you.
3) Find your perfect BALANCE OF CITRUS, SWEET, SALT AND HOT. I use fresh lime juice, brown sugar and because I’m a total salt-aholic…lots of kosher salt. Here’s a secret…caramelize. The hot always varies. Pick from fresh or pickled jalapeños, chipotle, cayenne, green chiles or for the very brave (and highly insane) habaneros or ghost peppers.
Flavor is subjective. I did not win everyone’s vote today. We all have opinions about too hot or salty or sweet. You have to experiment.
One more tip…pick fresh garden produce. Preferably local.
In the cutthroat race of the Sassy Salsa Challenge, democracy rules. I will proudly reign for another year. Bring me your salsa concerns. Bring me your bags of needy chips.
What about you? What’s YOUR show stopper?