It’s Tuesday Tips at the Tall Earth Blog! Learn a simple, nutritious, and delicious way to make Salsa Fresca that can get anyone on a path to healthy eating.
Eating healthy has negative vibes attached to it. To most people it means cutting out this and cutting back on that and convincing yourself you enjoy something completely devoid of taste because, that’s the nature of the beast. Basically, Healthy = Gross! Not so. You can absolutely enjoy awesome meals and snacks exploding with flavour, by preparing them yourself.
Cooking good stuff coupled with feeling good about what you do and how you eat is a wonderful bundle I want to share with everyone.
For all of you who are intimidated by cooking, we’ll dive into something that doesn’t even require cooking: Salsa!
Always a crowd-pleaser, Salsa Fresca is totally nutritious and just plain goodness! Bring some to your neighbour’s BBQ, make some for the kid’s afternoon snack, and don’t forget to save some for your eggs in the morning. Dee-lish!
So… What’s My Secret?
I get so many compliments on the simplest foods I make and everyone asks what my secret is.
What’s the recipe so they can replicate it. The secret is… drum-roll… no recipe. I honestly wing it! And here’s why I think this works so well: By not relying on exact measurements, and adjusting to taste, you can turn something very basic into a marvellous concoction. The key is to begin to become aware of the tastes you enjoy and to put more of those tastes into the food you’re making. This is an exciting part of the journey toward creating delicious and nutritious food. So there you have it… that’s my secret.
How to Make Salsa Fresca
Before we dive right in, I want to highlight what a difference having a sharp knife makes. A sharp knife makes prep work faster, easier and actually fun. I want to stress that you don’t need a fancy or expensive knife. If you can invest in mid-shelf chef’s knife, let me tell you, you will find it a very rewarding asset. If not, don’t fret, just have a half-decent sharpener and sharpen before AND after you prep.
So for this you’ll need only Tomatoes, Red Onions, Jalapenos, Lime Juice and Cilantro.
Here are some notes on the ingredients:
- If you’re unfamiliar with cilantro AKA coriander, it’s just an herb, kind of like parsley but way more fragrant. Spend a bit of time getting to know the scents of the herbs you might cook with. This will help immensely when you’re adjusting your cooking for the flavours you want.
- Use the juice of actual limes rather than the bottled stuff. The stuff from the bottle tastes weird. You don’t need a juicer. Work on your fore-arms by squeezing the halves in your fists!
- Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also add Bell-Peppers and even Mango.
So let’s go over the basics of cutting:
Hold the tomato on its side, and cut slices. How thick? Do you want it chunky or finer? Your call! Experiment. Some people prefer to “Seed the Tomatoes.” I think they’re OK with or without.
When dicing or mincing, cut along the longer side into strips, then flip it and cut perpendicular to your strips.
Bro-tip: Use a gentle forward rocking motion. Imagine you want your knife to slide down your cutting board, not crash down on it. It’s the sliding forward that does most of the cutting, not the pushing down.
If you’re a hungry beast like I am, eat the ends of whatever it is you just cut, just check to make sure no one saw you! LOL!
If you don’t have red onions, white ones will do. I find red ones are sweeter and have more flavour, while white ones are more sharp and potent uncooked. I usually use red ones for raw (salads etc) and white ones for cooking.
Cut your onions the same way, but you can stack the rings. With a sharp knife, less irritant from the onion gets released. Red onions aren’t as bad as white ones, but to be sure, try breathing in through your mouth.
Here’s how I recommend you cut jalapenos: cut off the end. Cut in half lengthwise, and then cut the halves lengthwise into quarters. Now you can remove the seeds easily by sliding the knife away from you. Always cut away from you. I like to save the seeds for a punchy kick to just about anything, from pickling to every day cooking.
Wash the Cilantro/Coriander and remove stems. I save them and put them in a blender with vinegar and jalapeno seeds for a killer chutney. Chop into fine bits by bunching the leaves, using the same rocking motion.
Now comes the most important part, and why we don’t use a recipe: Taste it. If it needs more texture, add onions. If it’s a little bland, more jalapeno. Too spicy? More tomato. Fine tune the lime to salt ratio. Don’t be afraid to add whatever you think it needs.
It is this process that gets “OH MY GOD!”s from your friends and family. Feels good, considering it’s such a simple concoction.
Next week we get super technical (just kidding): Simple, Delicious Stew
P.S. Don’t forget to sharpen your knife before you put it away!