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Griffin to Go: Salsas With Full Fruit Flavor

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salsas2The produce section of my neighborhood supermarket has been flooded with fresh fruit lately. And I can’t seem to say no to any of it.

This morning, peaches were 88 cents a pound. And while they may not be Fredericksburg’s finest, they have had good flavor, especially if I wait a couple of days before cutting into them.

Mandarin oranges were under $1 a pound, and while the bing cherries have slipped up a little in price from a rock-bottom under $2 a pound, they were still a bargain.

Watermelon is a staple in my house, as are lemons and limes.

What do you do with all of that fruit? Cobblers? Fruit salads?

I like to make fruit salsas. Oranges chopped up with radishes, mint or fennel. Watermelon with Kalamata olives and feta cheese. Lime juice and a pinch of salt make a perfect dressing when needed.

Here are a few recipes I’ve chopped up recently and a couple I’ve planned for the near future. The first two are adapted from “Salsas: The Santa Fe Cooking School Series,” by Susan Curtis and Kathi Lang. The remainder are inspired by the way the flavors and textures in those recipes have been layered.

Mango Salsa

Great with grilled tuna or salmon as well as fish tacos. Or make a fish salad by added 1 pound of grilled tuna or salmon to the recipe.

2 large ripe mangoes
1/2 English cucumber, cut into ¼-inch dice, or 1 medium cucumber, seeded, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut in ¼-inch dice
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño or 2 serranos, minced
Lime juice, to taste
Salt, to taste

Peel the mangoes with a mango cutter or a small sharp knife. Cut the flesh away from the large flat pit in two pieces, then cut it from the narrow edges of the pit. Cut these pieces into ¼-inch dice.

In a medium bowl, combine the diced mango, cucumber, onion, red pepper, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice and salt. Toss gently.

Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Makes 3 cups.

Adapted from “Salsas: The Santa Fe Cooking School Series,” by Susan Curtis and Kathi Lang

Bing Cherry-Pistachio Salsa

Serve this with quail, game, duck or good to garnish a cold soup of melon or cherries.

8 ounces fresh bing cherries, stems and pits removed, or 10 ounces frozen bing cherries, thawed
½ cup shelled, toasted, roughly chopped pistachios or ½ cup toasted pine nuts
¼ cup cilantro chiffonade
1 tablespoon juice from chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
Pinch of coarse salt, to taste
Pinch of sugar, to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, to taste

Roughly chop cherries and stir in pistachios, cilantro, chipotle juice, salt, sugar and lime juice. Serve.

Makes 1 ½ to 2 cups.

Adapted from “Salsas: The Santa Fe Cooking School Series,” by Susan Curtis and Kathi Lang

salsasPeach and Jicama Salsa

This would be good atop simply sautéed white fish or roasted pork loin.

3 freestone peaches, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼-inch dice
½ cup peeled and cubed jicama
1 medium red onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 tablespoon mint, cut into chiffonade
1 jalapeño, minced
Lime juice, to taste
Salt, to taste

Combine peaches, jicama, onion, mint, jalapeño, lime juice and salt. Let sit 20 minutes.

Cucumber-Lime Salsa

This would be good on white fish or as a side salad.

1 English cucumber, cut into ¼-inch dice, or 1 1/2 large cucumbers, seeded and cut ¼-inch dice
1 red onion, chopped
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes, or to taste
¼ cup flat Italian parsley chiffonade, sorrel chiffonade or mint chiffonade (or a combination of any of the three), divided use
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lime

In a bowl, mix cucumber, onion and a sprinkling of salt. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drain any juices. Mix in chile flakes, all but 1 tablespoon of herbs and lime juice. Let sit for another 10 minutes for flavors to settle. Garnish with lime zest and reserved herbs.

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