Every summer, I hope visiting friends with cooking skills or dining out will introduce me to a new exciting taste or innovative combination of ingredients to excite my culinary imagination and inspire meals beyond the "same old, same old."
Beh0ld my friend's salsa—a delicious concoction comprised primarily of ingredients used in the Aztec and Mayan’s early traditional cuisine. An ever-eager home chef, even I was daunted by the number of ingredients (16) in this recipe. But it's not nearly as time-consuming as the list appears on paper. And it's definitely worth the effort.
I collect salsa recipes, and this one astounded me with bold flavors and zest. She recommends throwing in some cut up avocado once the salsa is prepared. The addition of this fruit native to central Mexico makes for a hearty mix.
For other Southwestern-inspired appetizers and meals, check out my earlier article containing "food fiesta" suggestions for Cinco de Mayo.
2 large fresh beefsteak tomatoes, seeded, chopped
2 chiles (Serrano, or other hot), sliced thin
½ cup scallion, sliced very thin, include some green
½ cup white vinegar
2-1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons ginger, fresh, minced
2 tablespoons garlic, fresh, minced
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ cup good olive oil
2 avocados, peeled, cut in small cubes
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
Combine tomatoes, scallion and chiles in a bowl and set aside.
Put vinegar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and add sugar and salt. Stir to blend well, remove from heat.
Put garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, black pepper, cumin, cayenne and turmeric in a separate bowl. Use another saucepan. Heat olive oil to boiling, add garlic, ginger and spices mixture and cook less than a minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in seasoned vinegar. Pour this over the tomato, scallion and chiles that have been set aside.
Let all cool down, cover and refrigerate at least three hours for flavors to marry. Before serving, add cut up avocados and cilantro and toss lightly. Serve when salsa is room temperature.
Dale Carson, Abenaki, is the author of three books: New Native American Cooking, Native New England Cooking and A Dreamcatcher Book. She has written about and demonstrated Native cooking techniques for more than 30 years. Dale has four grown children and lives with her husband in Madison, Connecticut.
For more of Dale Carson’s Aztec-inspired recipes, read Avocados: Ripe in Aztec History.