salsa

Tropical Salsa

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In our family, Mother's Day involves a cookoff. Everyone participates in some way. We pick a theme, some people cook, some set the table, some help clean up and so on. Then we all eat what we have cooked and everyone wins a prize for something, like: best looking; most delicious; most unusual.....

It's been so much fun over the years and we all believe it beats going to a restaurant which, because it's a holiday, is usually crowded and noisy and the service awful.

This year's theme was "dips."

My son-in-law and one of the grandkids made a hot French Onion Dip; one daughter and granddaughter made a spicy Red Pepper Dip; another daughter and child made a chocolate dip for dessert.

It was all awesome.

This was my entry, which got the award for "most refreshing" and "most attractive" as well as "most perfect for summer" awards.

It's so easy to make too.

Also, it really is perfect for summer.

And it is actually refreshing and attractive.

So -- for summer company or just for yourself, try my award-winning Tropical Salsa. Serve it on Father's Day. Or July 4th!

By the way, this is also a good side dish with grilled meat, poultry or fish and can be used to top a hamburger.

Tropical Salsa

  • 2 cups diced fresh papaya
  • 2 large mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 large avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh lime peel
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt
  • corn chips or other favorite chips

Place the papaya, mango and avocado dice in a bowl. Add the jalapeno pepper, lime peel, lime juice and cilantro and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. Taste and add salt as needed. Serve with chips.

Makes about 3 cups

Coconut Crusted Chicken

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Coconut Chicken with Mango Salsa

I don't remember when chicken nuggets became one of the stock items on childrens' menus. But it's right up there with pizza, pasta and mac n' cheese.

Of course, grownups like chicken nuggets too. I suppose it's the anything crunchy-fried-golden-brown thing.

Most recipes give chicken nuggets a bread crumb crust, but during Passover there are other alternatives. Check out my recipe below, which has a matzo meal and coconut crust. I keep the pieces bigger than standard nuggets so they feel more like dinner to adults, but you can cut the chicken into smaller chunks to make actual nuggets (which are terrific as hors d'oeuvre).

The coconut gives the chicken a lovely sweet taste, which is fine all by itself, but grown up palates might want to balance that with a refreshing, citrusy, slightly spicy mango salsa.

Coconut Chicken

 

  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened packaged shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless chicken
  • vegetable oil for frying

 

Place the potato starch in a dish. Beat the eggs in a second dish. Combine the coconut, matzo meal, salt, paprika and garlic powder in a third dish. Slice the chicken into strips (about 2-inches long, 1-inch wide). Press the strips, one by one, into the potato starch, covering the entire surface. Immerse the strips in the egg, making sure to cover the entire surface. Press the egg-coated chicken strips into the coconut mixture, making sure to coat the entire surface. Place the strips on a cake rack and let air dry for at least 15 minutes. Heat about 1/8-inch vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to make a matzo crumb sizzle, add the strips a few at a time, leaving room between each strip, for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining strips. Serve plain or with Mango Salsa.

 Makes 4 servings

 Mango Salsa

  • 2 cups diced fresh mango
  • 1/2 cup chopped purple onion
  • 1 small chili pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • salt to taste

Place the mango, purple onion, chili pepper, mint, ginger, garlic, lime juice, honey and vegetable oil in a bowl and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Makes about 2-1/2 cups

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Remember that  one chili pepper  I was able to grow in my garden? Well, I don’t have much of a green thumb, but I did get a few more peppers this week, so I had to figure out ways to use them. I came up with this grilled pineapple salsa. I used it as a side dish for some grilled fish I made for dinner.  

 This salsa is just a bit hot and also is tangy (from the lime juice) and sweet, not just because of the honey, but also because grilling fruit brings out the sugars. And I have to add, that grilled pineapple tastes somewhat like rum, which is never a bad thing. 

 Grilled Pineapple Salsa  

 1/2 large pineapple, skin removed, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices 
1 small red onion, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices 
3 tablespoons vegetable oil 
2 small chopped chili peppers (such as serrano), deseeded and chopped 
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint 
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger 
2 tablespoons lime juice 
1 tablespoon honey 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 

 Preheat an outdoor grill (or use a grill pan). Brush the the pineapple and onion slices with some of the vegetable oil. Grill the slices for 2-3 minutes per side or until browned and softened. Remove the slices, chop them into small pieces and place them in a bowl (discard the hard fibrous pineapple core). Add the peppers, parsley, mint, ginger, lime juice, honey and cumin and toss ingredients to distribute the ingredients evenly. Let rest at least 15 minutes before serving. Good with fish. Makes about 2 cups

Remember that one chili pepper I was able to grow in my garden? Well, I don’t have much of a green thumb, but I did get a few more peppers this week, so I had to figure out ways to use them. I came up with this grilled pineapple salsa. I used it as a side dish for some grilled fish I made for dinner.

This salsa is just a bit hot and also is tangy (from the lime juice) and sweet, not just because of the honey, but also because grilling fruit brings out the sugars. And I have to add, that grilled pineapple tastes somewhat like rum, which is never a bad thing.

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

1/2 large pineapple, skin removed, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 small red onion, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 small chopped chili peppers (such as serrano), deseeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat an outdoor grill (or use a grill pan). Brush the the pineapple and onion slices with some of the vegetable oil. Grill the slices for 2-3 minutes per side or until browned and softened. Remove the slices, chop them into small pieces and place them in a bowl (discard the hard fibrous pineapple core). Add the peppers, parsley, mint, ginger, lime juice, honey and cumin and toss ingredients to distribute the ingredients evenly. Let rest at least 15 minutes before serving. Good with fish. Makes about 2 cups

Quickie Cooked Salsa

Fish on the grill, sort of. I used a cast iron pan because I can’t find my wire fish basket and anyway, every time I grill fish just on the grids a lot of it falls through and down into the great ash beyond. Besides, cleaning a pan is a whole lot easier than cleaning the grids and/or the wire basket.  
 I had set out to buy and grill some tuna but saw a beautiful, thick chunk of wild halibut at the fish store and couldn’t resist it. 
 You don’t need anything fancy when you grill fish. I just gave it a coat of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, put it in the pan, closed the cover (the grill was hot). About 5 minutes later I turned the fish and gave it another 5 minutes. While the fish was cooking I made an almost instant salsa to go with it. This sauce would go with almost any plain grilled or broiled fish (or baked or sauteed). I have served this with grilled chicken breasts too. 
 Quickie Cooked Salsa 
 2 tablespoons olive oil 
 1 onion, sliced 
 2 cloves garlic, chopped 
 1 small serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped, optional 
 2 large tomatoes, chopped 
 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 
 Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and pepper, if used and cook for another minute. Add the tomato and basil and cook for about 4 minutes or until soft. Serve as a bed for grilled fish or chicken. Makes about 2 cups

Fish on the grill, sort of. I used a cast iron pan because I can’t find my wire fish basket and anyway, every time I grill fish just on the grids a lot of it falls through and down into the great ash beyond. Besides, cleaning a pan is a whole lot easier than cleaning the grids and/or the wire basket. 

I had set out to buy and grill some tuna but saw a beautiful, thick chunk of wild halibut at the fish store and couldn’t resist it.

You don’t need anything fancy when you grill fish. I just gave it a coat of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, put it in the pan, closed the cover (the grill was hot). About 5 minutes later I turned the fish and gave it another 5 minutes. While the fish was cooking I made an almost instant salsa to go with it. This sauce would go with almost any plain grilled or broiled fish (or baked or sauteed). I have served this with grilled chicken breasts too.

Quickie Cooked Salsa

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped, optional

2 large tomatoes, chopped

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and pepper, if used and cook for another minute. Add the tomato and basil and cook for about 4 minutes or until soft. Serve as a bed for grilled fish or chicken. Makes about 2 cups