Spicy, Yummy Mexican Influenced Recipes for Summer

Please accept our apologies for being remiss in our blog posts recently. As a gift to make up for our absence, we will provide four weeks of easy summer recipes with a Mexican flair. To start week one, we have “Three Easy Summer Salsas” you can use for chips, appetizers or to top great grilled items.

For week two, we will do “Elote,” which is grilled corn topped with savory ingredients that add zest to a traditional summer favorite. During week three we have some “Spice Rubs, Brines and Marinades” that will add new opportunities for your back yard grill. And week four we will teach you to make Palettas, those yummy frozen ice pops with fresh fruit found on carts, kiosks and in mercados all over Mexico.

We chose three salsas with different flavors and textures that are all great on chips, smothered over a freshly grilled meat or vegetable, or can be used in other preparations.

 

Fresh Mango Salsa                              Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients:                                             Amount:

Fresh Mangos, ripe                                        2 each
Tomatoes, ripe (any variety), diced small         1 pound
White Onion, diced small 6 ounces, about         ½ of an onion or 1 cup
Jalapeño - remove stem, seeds, veins
and diced fine                                                1 each (about medium spice level)
Lime juice                                                     2 limes worth
Cilantro, chopped                                           ½ bunch
Salt                                                               ½ teaspoon

Method of preparation:

  1. Peel and medium dice mangos (if you are not sure how to do this, there are many very good videos online), then place in a bowl.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and mix to combine but do not mash up.
  3. The salsa gets better with time, so let it sit about an hour.

Helpful Tips:

  • In normal chef talk, “dices” are: medium = ½ inch by ½ inch, small = ¼ inch by ¼ inch, and fine = 1/8 inch by 1/8 inch.

Uses:

  • As a dip for your favorite chips.
  • Served on top of grilled fish, pork chops or pork loin.
  • As an appetizer: stuff dates with goat cheese, wrap the dates in bacon and place on a skewer. Grill them on a medium hot grill until the bacon is crispy. Make a bed on a plate with some of the Mango Salsa. Remove the bacon wrapped dates from the skewer and place on top of the salsa.

 

 

Tomatillo Salsa                    Yield: 1 1/4 cup

Ingredients:                             Amount:
Tomatillos, husks removed           1 pound
Water                                         3 cups
White Onion, small dice               3 Tablespoons
Garlic                                         1 clove
Serrano Chiles, cut in 6 pieces      2 each (use 1 jalapeño if serrano not available)
                                                             (medium high spice level)
Cilantro, chopped                         ½ cup

Method of preparation:

  1. Put tomatillos in a pot with water, cover. Place pot on stove on a medium-high heat for 12 minutes. Remove the tomatillos from water and allow to cool.
  2. Place diced onion, garlic, Serrano Chiles and half of the cooled tomatillos in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add remaining tomatillos, chopped cilantro and salt. Pulse blender 5–6 times to break up ingredients. Finished salsa should be pulpy with small pieces of tomatillo.

Uses:

  • As a dip for your favorite chips.
  • Brush on a raw chicken breast, place on the grill. Continue to baste with the Tomatillo Salsa for the entire cooking time.
  • Mash a ripe avocado so it is still a little chunky. Add ½ cup of the Tomatillo Salsa and stir. Yield: 2 cups.

This is a great dip for chips, or mix it with chopped hard cooked eggs, a bit of mayonnaise and a pinch of salt for a zesty egg salad. You can also fold into chilled, diced grilled chicken as a chicken salad for a sandwich or use on a bed of greens and veggies with a light vinaigrette dressing for a summer salad.

· As an appetizer: skewer shrimp for the grill (if not sure how to do this check out “how to skewer shrimp for grilling” online), brush with Tomatillo Salsa, place on grill, continue to baste for the short cooking time. Serve with the Avocado/Tomatillo Salsa above.

 

Table Salsa                            Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients:                                   Amount:
Canned Tomatoes, diced, roasted         1 each 28 ounce can
White Onion, diced small                      2 ounces, about 1/3 cup
Jalapeño: remove stem, seeds, veins
and diced small                                    1 each (about medium spice level)
Garlic, diced small                                1 clove
Salt                                                     1 teaspoon
Cilantro, chopped                                 1/4 bunch
Lime juice                                           1 lime worth

Method of preparation:

  1. Empty entire can of tomatoes into a blender.
  2. Split the onions in half, and put half in the blender.
  3. Add the jalapeños and salt, blend on low to medium low speed for about 10 seconds. Check to see if ingredients are broken up but not puréed; we want to have some texture in our final salsa.
  4. Add remaining onions, cilantro and lime juice. Turn blender to about medium high. Pulse blender4–5 times. These ingredients should just be broken up slightly.

 

Helpful Tips:

  • If you want a spicier salsa, remove the stem from the jalapeño and dice the remaining jalapeño, seeds, veins and all. Chef Roberto Santibanez is a strong believer that you should always use the whole chile (seeds, veins and all), either fresh or dried, because much of the flavor and nutrients are found in those components.
  • It may seem odd to dice ingredients before putting them in a blender, but we really want to have some texture in the final salsa, and if we put large pieces of the vegetables in the blender it would require a longer blending time and the tomatoes would turn into a purée.
  • I leave the salt a little low to make up for salt from chips or other ingredients, so once you know how you are going to use the final salsa adjust the salt as needed.

 

Uses:

  • Same revisions as above Dip your favorite chip in.
  • Use as a dressing for a summer salad. Salsas are very low in calories and often fat free, but full of flavor.

At Breakfast, make Chilaquiles, a traditional breakfast in Mexico that uses day old tortillas and salsa. Place chips in a frying pan to cover the bottom in a heavy layer. Pour salsa over and simmer covered (with chilaquiles the chips are served soft so you get all that great corn flavor in the dish without the crisp). Scramble some eggs and place on top of the salsa/tortilla mixture. Sprinkle your favorite cheese over and serve in the pan.

As an appetizer: take one cup of the salsa and squeeze in additional juice from a lime. Grill or bake your favorite fish, remove it from the grill and place on a plate or dish with a lip on the edge. Pour one cup of salsa over the fish and place in the refrigerator to cool. Break up cooled fish with the salsa (break it so the pieces are approximately ¾ - 1 inch). Place a small amount of the fish in Escabeche on a corn tortilla chip, squeeze on a little fresh lime, top with a bit of guacamole and/or queso fresca cheese. If you are feeling really “chefy,” get some cilantro micro greens and place a small bunch of those on top.