You don’t need to visit the condiments aisle in your local grocery store to stock up on tasty additions to your meals. With little effort, you can whip up salsas or sauces that both enhance the food you serve and reflect your individual taste.
It’s just a matter of planning ahead. The tools you’ll need are, most often, just a sharp knife and perhaps a blender or a food processor.
Raw salsas and sauces made with vegetables, fruits and spices can add the crowning touch to a meal without much additional preparation. To reach the full flavor of a fresh salsa, it’s best to make it a day ahead and let the flavors blend.
San Antonio restaurateur Blanca Aldaco has put a spin on traditional pico de gallo, replacing the tomato with a blend of mango and grapefruit that gives the spicy concoction a hint of tart-sweetness. She recommends using Rio Star grapefruit, a Texas-grown variety that she says has a deeper red color and more natural sweetness than other varieties.
Aldaco, who owns two San Antonio-area restaurants, suggests serving the pico atop grilled or baked tilapia filets.
Grapefruit and Mango Pico De Gallo
1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice
2 to 3 green onions, chopped fine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 mango, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 fresh jalapeños, cut into thin strips
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 grapefruit, sectioned and chopped
Dash oregano, optional
Salt to taste
Combine juice, green onions, olive oil, mango, jalapeños and red onion in a non-reactive container (glass, ceramic or stainless steel). Marinate overnight in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature just before serving and add grapefruit and oregano, if desired. Blend well. Taste and salt.
Servings: 8. Serving size: 1/2 cup. Per serving: 54 calories, 0.6 g protein, 1.8 g fat, 10.1 g carbohydrates, 93 mg sodium, trace cholesterol
COOK’S TIP: Use just the pulp of the grapefruit without the membrane, and definitely remove the bitter white pith with the skin.
For those more ambitious cooks, especially those with canning experience, this chutney recipe developed by Texas Co-op Power Communications Assistant Sandra Forston is a wonderful topper to pork tenderloin or ham. If you are not sure how to safely can, please consult a good resource or reference book before attempting this recipe.
1 lemon (unpeeled), seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
5 cups peeled, chopped apples
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups raisins
1/4 cup peeled and chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups vinegar
Combine ingredients in stockpot and simmer, stirring frequently, at least 2 hours or until thickened. Spoon boiling hot chutney into hot sterile pint jars and seal. Process 10 to 15 minutes in boiling water bath. Yields about 3 pints.
Servings: 96. Serving size: 1 tablespoon. Per serving: 30 calories, 0.1 g protein, trace g fat, 7.9 g carbohydrates, 38 mg sodium, trace cholesterol
For more on canning, take a look back at the March 2006 issue in our online archives at www.texascooppower.com.