Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Sweet Heat of Salsa

I mentioned the other day that I have a lot of champagne mangos. Delicious. Better by the day.

So we are using a mango at every opportunity.

When you have a lot of something, a veritable endless supply, your frame of mind regarding how to use that thing changes.

I tend to use the mangos ripe, not green. And it is not so often that we find mangos that are ripe. When we do, their price usually reflects it.

So now with this unexpected bounty, we can try a few things that seemed just a bit too capricious before. Some things where the mango may not necessarily be the featured player.

One such idea that I had seen a few times is a salsa based on mangos and strawberries.

I see strawberries and mangos together in many recipes. Smoothies, for example. Or baked as some sort of crumble. So it seems they must have a certain affinity for each other.

I also know that mangos and heat go well together. We’ve made mango chutneys with chili peppers, and that works very well.

And I know that strawberries work well with vinegars. As do mangos.

I recently read that mangos match well with cilantro as well.

So there you are. All the fixings necessary for a good salsa are there: chilies, cilantro, vinegar. Together with the strawberries and mangos. I was a little worried how the garlic would fit into the mix – but eyes closed and jump! We’ll find out soon enough.

In the end, I wanted to use up my mint, so I substituted mint for the cilantro. And that worked just as well.

Since I was in the mood for something lighter, I wanted to go salad. But salsa and salad? Hmmm.

I was thinking to roast up some salmon fillet, set it on top of the salad, and spoon the salsa on top of the salmon, when I got a better idea.

Mango and Strawberry Salsa on top of Salmon Bruschetta.

Almost finger food. Little toasts that you could pick up and eat. Set next to a simple salad.

I sliced the salmon fillet in half lengthwise so it was not too thick. Otherwise it would be too hard to eat on top of toast with salsa as well. The salmon was lightly breaded in rice flour and some spices, mainly cayenne and cinnamon.

The bruschetta is just country French bread brushed in olive oil, toasted, and rubbed with garlic. The salmon fillets sit on top, some salsa spooned over the stack, and a sprig of mint for garnish.

It was excellent. Aside from TeenBoy, who does not eat fish, and held his nose through the entire cooking and eating of the salmon, everyone enjoyed it.

Since the salsa works equally well over chicken, and even rice, everyone eventually got to try it. And agreed it was wonderful!

Salmon Bruschetta with Mango Strawberry Salsa
Recipe by surfindaave
Serves 4

2 pound salmon fillet, skin removed, cut into 4 serving pieces, and cut again in half lengthwise (for a total of eight thin pieces)
½ cup rice flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
8 slices country French bread
1 garlic clove, peeled, cut in half
olive oil
Mango-Strawberry Salsa (recipe follows)
Additional mint, cut chiffonade, plus a few leaves left whole, for garnish if desired

Combine the flour, cayenne pepper, cumin and salt in a shallow plate. Lightly dust the salmon pieces in the flour mixture, turning to cover all sides.

Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet until very hot. Sautee the salmon pieces quickly until just browned on both sides, and remove to an oven proof plate. Set plate in warm oven.

Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil. Broil on both sides until bread pieces are browned. Remove from heat and rub lightly with cut piece of garlic.

Place 2 pieces of bruschetta on each of four serving plates. Place one piece of salmon on top of each piece of bread. Spoon some of the mango strawberry salsa over the fish. Sprinkle some of the chiffonade mint on top, and garnish with a whole mint leave, if desired. Serve. Enjoy!

Mango Strawberry Salsa
Recipe by surfindaave
Serves 4

3 ripe mangos, flesh removed from pit, peeled, and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound strawberries, stems removed, washed, cut in half
¼ cup almonds, slivered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp rice vinegar
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh mint, minced
½ cup water
Additional mint, for garnish, if desired

Combine all ingredients except mangos and strawberries in a heavy sauce pan. Bring to a simmer. Reduce slightly.

Add mango and strawberry pieces. Simmer gently for a few minutes, until the fruit just begins to soften a little. Remove from heat. (If cooked longer, the strawberries will dissolve away into mush).

Let the salsa cool. Stir gently. Garnish with additional mint if desired.

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Blogger Dick Margulis said...

The mangoes I can get at my local supermarket do nothing for me. However, I had a wonderful canteloupe in the fridge and, well, all I can say is thanks for the salsa idea. I adapted your recipe, served it over duck breast poached medium-rare in vermouth and water with star anise and ginger, and served it with some leftover black beans (onions, garlic, cumin, etc.) and a dollop of sour cream. My wife was two bites into the salsa when she said I hope you remember how you made this. She grabbed the rest of it to take to work today.

So thanks again. I've got your blog bookmarked and I'll be back.

10:38 AM  

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