The other day, my friend Lindsey and I had an email conversation in which she posed an innocent inquiry:
“What are your favorite salsa recipes?”
I was at a momentary loss.
Before I go any further, let me explain my geographical location. Two and half years ago, my husband and I moved to Nacogdoches, Texas; we’re in the heart of what’s considered deep East Texas. Tex-Mex cooking reigns supreme here, which means one thing is certain: if you live in these parts, you had better know salsa.
Unfortunately, I don’t.
Or, more precisely, my California-inspired salsas bear little resemblance to real Texas salsa.
For starters, my versions of of salsa, are almost always raw, made with chopped raw fruits, vegetables, herbs, garlic, onions, peppers, and the like; Texas salsa is cooked.
Other differences are more subtle, but equally salient. Texas salsa shares many characteristics with real cowboys: rugged, traditional, full-bodied and fiery; forget the foo-foo. By contrast, my salsas resemble free-wheeling, tie-dyed, Berkeley hippies, often fruity, changing focus on a whim, and almost never burdened by formal guidelines or strictures.
As evidence of my West coast salsa ways, I offer the following, an avocado, mango and black-eyed pea salsa. It’s a fast, easy, and filling snack with some baked tortilla or pita chips, but it is also great as a side dish.
Kiwis, mangos, pineapple, papaya—use whatever tropical fruit you can find if mangoes are not available or in season. Happy eating!
- 1 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium, firm-ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1 medium, firm-ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced green onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- juice and grated zest of 1 medium lime
- salt to taste
- Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl; season to taste with salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Avocado Nutrition: If you aren’t eating avocados, you may want to start–soon. Just one little fruit (I know, technically not a vegetable, but close enough for my January vegetable commitment) provides almost 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including 4% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for vitamin E, 4% vitamin C, 8% folate, 4% fiber, 2% iron, 4% potassium, with 81 micrograms of lutein and 19 micrograms of beta-carotene. Here’s a link to the avocado association website for more information:http://www.avocado.org/healthy_living/nutrition.php