Salsa Mexicana y Salsa Verde Cruda

Posted on 28/12/2010

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Authentic Mexican begins with a section of condiments and sauces, Salsa y Encurtidos, essentials in the Mexican kitchen.

First up is Salsa Mexicana or Pico de Gallo.  No recipe needed here, this is something I know like the back of my hand.  I learned to make Pico de Gallo from my mom, and every summer I make this stuff by the bucket full.  By mid-summer I can find all the necessary ingredients, except limes, at the local farmer’s market.  With a dish this simple, fresh ingredients make all the d difference.  I love using heirloom tomatoes (green zebras are possible my favorite) and habanero chiles, unfortunately its December so I have to settle for what I can find at the supermarket.  Bayless includes garlic in his recipe but I left it out, I love garlic but don’t care for it in this salsa.

Next is Salsa Verde Cruda very similar to Salsa Mexicana minus the lime juice and with tomatillos rather than tomatoes.  This was my first time working with tomatillos, and I found them rather whimsical.  Once you peel away the dry husk there’s a sticky little green tomato-like fruit.  I followed Bayless’ recipe and lightly boiled them first to soften them (though he also says you can also use them raw).

I took this opportunity to try out the food processor I got for Christmas, which made these dishes even easier to prepare.  I had never used one before so I was a little sceptical, but they both came out beautifully.  However, the food processor did make the Salsa Mexicana a bit frothy and I think it looks a little nicer when chopped by hand.  But they tasted so fresh and so so good.  To me these fresh salsas taste like the summer sunshine and, here in the dead of winter, that can be a great anti-depressant.

(please excuse the poor photos, I took them with my blackberry)

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