19 May 2012

The Best Idea I’ve Ever Had. Get Ready to Be Grateful.

When your jar of salsa is running low, instead of shoving it in the back fridge until it becomes unpalatable, or worse, cramming a chip into the jar and getting your hand stuck and then spending the rest of your life with your hand all up in a salsa jar, just don’t do that.
Obviously, a common alternative is to pour the remaining salsa into a bowl.  A fine idea.  But there is always still some left in the jar, and I shudder to think of how much salsa has been wasted over the course of my salsa-consuming-adult-life.  At least three cups, to be sure. Tragedy.

The solution? Make a Mexican vinaigrette out of the remaining salsa by adding lime juice, shallot, salt, and olive oil to the jar and shaking it.  These quick additions change the salsa’s consistency into something appropriate for dressing greens, while the time-consuming labor required to attain certain Mexican flavors (toasting, soaking, puréeing and straining chiles + roasting tomatoes + mincing garlic), has already been done for you.

Yum yum yum and duh duh duh.  While I am mourning years of wasted salsa and could-have-been-vinaigrettes, I am ecstatic that I have discovered the technique at a relatively young age, so that I have plenty of years left to enjoy delicious Mexican salads.  I’ve served this salad as a refreshing accompaniment to heavier Mexican fare, but it tastes fantastic on its own or even with non-Mexican courses.  Last month I ate it with a curry chicken salad and there were absolutely no conflicts of interest in my mouth.

Warning: This technique might not be successful with every salsa. I imagine it might work better with the thinner, chile-based salsas than those that are chunkier and tomato-based.  I recommend the complex and slightly sweet guajillo salsa by Frontera , which is the only brand of store-bought salsa that crosses our threshold these days.

I suppose I should probably be taste-testing vinaigrettes made with different types of salsa before I go about posting this new-fangled discovery on the internet. But I am too satisfied with this particular concoction to try anything else for now. Please don’t be upset at me. Instead, channel your anger into gratitude at learning this life-changing technique.  And then, channel that angry gratitude into action: at lunch or dinner today, pilfer your fridge, find that mostly-empty jar of salsa, whatever brand it happens to be, make a vinaigrette out of it, and report back to me how it worked.

Salad, pre- and post-dressing.

Mexican Vinaigrette and Salad
~ a Fancy Toast original recipe

2 teaspoons shallots or white onion, minced
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
pinches of salt and pepper
1/3 cup salsa from the bottom of the jar (I recommend the guajillo style by Frontera)
Note: The first photo of the post has a second jar in it besides the salsa jar.  It is a jar of juice leftover from some spicy pickled carrots.  I didn't include it in the recipe because I don't often have that lying around, and the vinaigrette is just great without it. Just in case you were wondering....)

1 head crisp lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces (Boston Bibb is nice)
1 orange or grapefruit, peeled and segmented
2 beets, roasted and sliced
2 green onions, chopped
2 radishes, sliced thinly
1/2 cup queso (Mexican crumbling cheese)
small handful cilantro, chopped
Note: These are just suggestions for salad components.  Almost anything will taste delicious!

Add first four ingredients of vinaigrette into the jar of salsa. Shake vigorously until ingredients emulsify.
Assemble salad and pour vinaigrette over. Toss and serve!

1 comment:

Mike HIckerson,LMConsultants said...

I am truly grateful for this excellent innovative alternative to mold farming. I was thinking that the thicker salsas will still adapt but add more olive oil and shake it that much harder.