Take your tastebuds salsa dancing

You’ve been desperately turning your burgeoning tomato crop – or the gazillion pounds you bought on impulse at the farmers market – into salsa this summer. I mean, how many tomato sandwiches can you really eat?

But once, you’ve got the red stuff under control, it’s time to expand your salsa horizons. Salsa doesn’t have to mean Mexican. It’s just a savory, fresh sauce that’s good for just about anything – no tomatoes required.

Think peaches, or nectarines or even watermelon. They all make a great base for a fruit salsa that you can spice up for a perfect accent for grilled pork or chicken. If it sounds weird to you, remember, tomatoes are a fruit, too.

Now that you’ve accepted that, tackle some simple fruit salsas. Add the spices you like best. Heck, you can add the cumin and cilantro you use in tomato salsa to peach or nectarine chunks and the soapy, clean taste of the cilantro, combined with the musky cumin plays nicely against the fruits’ sweetness. For watermelon or cantelope salsa, a hint of fresh mint and lemon juice works wonders. I use garlic, just not as much as I would with a tomato salsa. Once you’ve let your fruit salsa sit for about an hour at room temperature, it’s ready to brighten up pork chops, pork loin, roasted or grilled chicken and even white fish.

If you’re not a meat eater, serve it alongside a grilled cheese, or make rice with three-fourths unsweetened coconut milk and one-fourth of water, then top it with the fruit salsa.

We’re kind of dreading the dog days of August and early September, but we can all stay refreshed with a little salsa dancing on our plates.

Fruit Salsa

serves four

3 ripe peaches or 4 nectarines

1/2 sweet onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 cup minced cilantro

3 Tbsp. rice vinegar

3 Tbsp. grapeseed or canola oil

juice from half a lime

salt to taste

Peel the fruit and cut into bite-size chunks. Place in a bowl. Add the onion, garlic, cumin and cilantro and stir gently until mixed. In a jar with a lid, combine the vinegar, oil, lime juice and salt. Shake to mix thoroughly. Pour dressing over the fruit mixture, stir and let sit at room temperature for up to an hour. Stir again before serving.

If you’re using cantelope or watermelon, omit the cumin, and substitute minced fresh basil or mint for the cilantro.




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