Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Salsa Fresca

I love salsa. It's one of my favorite foods, though I suppose that it is actually classified as a condiment. The difference between a condiment and an actual "food" is that a condiment is rarely eaten on it's own. Consider that ketchup - the condiment displaced by salsa as America's most eaten - is never eaten by the spoonful unless by 7 year olds who think they have found a clever way to "beat the system" and eat their veggies. Salsa, in my opinion, can actually be eaten on its own, if you were so inclined. Isn't it really a form of gazpacho?
All that said, I do generally eat salsa with something else. My current favorite way to eat it is on salads, with a bit of sour cream, corn and black beans mixed in. I also like to top tacos with salsa, which I did with this batch, as a matter of fact. The best way to eat salsa is really with tortilla chips, though.
This salsa is fresh and flavorful, with a refreshing tang from the tomatillos and some spice from the habanero peppers. The heat level is very easy to adjust. For mild, as I've indicated below, you can use a green chili. If you like it hot, like I do, then increase the heat by using habanero pepper instead. You'll have to guess about the heat level the first time you make this. I suggest starting with about tablespoon of habanero pepper. Remember that you can always increase the tomato and onion if it gets too hot for you. The worst thing that can happen is that you'll end up with a lot of salsa.
Also, before you get to thinking that I'm being too vague with my "medium" directions, keep in mind that salsa is proportional and not an exact science. There's no wrong way and you can never have too much.

Salsa Fresca
3 medium sized ripe tomatoes
2 medium sized tomatillos
1/2 medium sized white onion
3 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 large green chili for mild/medium or habanero pepper to taste
pinch coriander
1-2 tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper

Dice tomatoes, tomatillos, onion and cilantro coarsely. Finely dice chili or habanero pepper. Combine all ingredients with a pinch of coriander, the juice of 1/2 fresh lime (1-2 tbsp) and a bit of salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse several times until combined, but still a bit chunky. Add more salt and pepper and adjust the heat level, if necessary.
Store in the frigde.
Serve with chips.
Makes 1 1/2 - 2 cups.