Summertime is absolutely made for chips and salsa. A great bowl of salsa could probably achieve peace in the Middle East—just try being in a bad mood while you are chowing down on a bowl of salsa with some freshly fried tortilla chips. It’s impossible! One of the best things about salsa is how versatile it is. Just follow these guidelines and create a fresh salsa recipe that you can call your own.
Traditional Mexican salsa is totally delicious, but you needn’t stop there. Do you like Greek or French food? How about Ethiopian food? All you have to do is mix up the seasonings, and you have an entirely new and exciting dip in your hands.
Juicy tomatoes are approaching their peak right now, and you can find some wonderful heirlooms in the market. Choose a tomato that is tender but not squishy and that lets off a wonderful, sweet aroma. But you shouldn’t limit yourself to just tomatoes. Mangos, watermelon, and fresh summer corn all make fantastic bases for a salsa.
Though traditional salsa comes with a light zip from jalapenos, there is no reason to restrict yourself. If you like especially incendiary food, dice up half a habanero for your salsa, then let the dip marinate for at least an hour to let the citrusy, burning heat work its way through the other ingredients. Just be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before touching any other surfaces. The capsaicin in the peppers will burn your eyes if you touch them. Additionally, you can stick with bell peppers if you like almost no spice, or you can use bird’s eye chilies if you want an Asian feel to the salsa.
Cilantro, basil, dill, and tarragon can all be used to complement the flavors of the main ingredients and to lend an international flair to the salsa. Don’t be shy here: experiment until you find a flavor combination that you love.
Onions are universally used in salsa because of their bright, pungent flavor. However, you needn’t stick to traditional onions. Green onions, chives, and shallots are all delicious. And don’t forget about the acidity and the beans! You can get the acidity from either citrus or a vinegar, and black or cannellini beans can make a great add-in or even a main ingredient.