Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Papaya and Nectarine Salsa


(Not my photo.)

Over the holiday weekend, my friend made an apricot salsa that I could have eaten and eaten for days on end. It was juicy, refreshing, and not too sweet.

Inspired by her greatness, I made my own fruit salsa last night, stretching beyond the fruits I typically buy in the summer by trying papayas and nectarines (I'm a berries-and-banana kind of girl most days).

The American take on "salsa" is quite different from the classic Mexican condiment, so, yes, both my friend's creation and my own are closer to salads than authentic salsas, but I for one embrace this diversification and cross-cultural influence. It also ebraces the same textures and flavor profiles as corn salad and pico de gallo (that's the diced tomatoes and onion mixture that's chunkier than salsa, which is traditionally mashed or blended).

This recipe is so versatile. You can use any fruit that calls your name in the produce market, from apples to watermelon to avocado. Just don't try it with berries and bananas. (Then again, that doesn't sound half bad...)

Papaya Nectarine Salsa
1/2 cup ripe Mexican papaya, diced
1/2 cup nectarine, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 to 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro (fresh coriander), chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or one jalepeno pepper, finely diced)
salt to taste, about 1/4 teaspoon


Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and chill or leave in a cool room (in summer, it's less refreshing when left at "room temperature"). If you eat the salsa immediately, the onion might have too much bite, but a 30-minute soak in the lime juice ANC vinegar should take the edge off it.

Serve with grilled fish or fish tacos and a side of shredded red cabbage.

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