The Lunch Break Chronicles

with Chris Preovolos

SUMMER OF SALSA: EPISODE TWO

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salsa

ABOVE: Red snapper with roasted jalapeño and citrus salsa.

6/21/2009

Today is the first official day of summer and Magdalene Perez and I are bringing you our second installment of the Summer of Salsa series. This week we made a roasted jalapeño and citrus salsa, which owing to our knifework, didn’t turn out a pretty as it could have but brought an interesting mix of sweet, sour and heat. Its liquidity also helped out a little with the snapper, which I managed to overcook in the broiler.

–CP

Ready for spicy? Roasted Jalapeño and Citrus Salsa. Yow!

To recap, CP and I are celebrating summer by making a salsa every week for 12 weeks. All our recipes are from the book Nueva Salsa by Rafael Palomino and Arlen Gargagliano.

For week two, we decided to go spicy, with the Roasted Jalapeño and Citrus Salsa. We cooked it with red snapper, though any mild white fish will do.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:

2 jalapeño chiles
3 oranges
1 grapefruit
1 lemon
1 lime
2 tablespoons of soybean oil [canola or peanut oil is okay too]
kosher salt to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon ¼ inch diagonally cut green onions
1 nice cut of red snapper
1 plastic or paper bag

The recipe says this makes 2 cups, but we found it makes much more, so feel free to cut this whole thing in half if you’re not feeding more than 2 people.

First, you want to roast your chiles. Stick the chile on the end of a fork, turn on your stove and stand there rotating until it is nice and black on all sides. We tag-teamed this part to make it go faster.

Then, place the chiles in your paper or plastic bag and close it. Let the chiles cool for about 10 minutes, then pull out the stems and rub off the black skin. Cut the chiles in half and remove the seeds with a fork or knife.

The book says you don’t want to rinse the seeds out with water because it will lose flavor, but we don’t recommend using your fingers like the book says – you don’t want to rub that stuff in your eyes!

While your chiles are cooling, you can start prepping your fruit. First, zest one orange. If you are using a fancy zester or grater, be careful not to zest your finger like I did!

Cut the peel off all the fruits [deep enough that you are getting to the juicy part] cut into segments and halve.

Cut your onions. [We had a big dispute about this, I said the onion bottoms were fine, Chris argued in favor of the green tops, like the recipe directs. Go for what ever you want. Personally I love any kind of onions, and think you can double or triple the amount to your taste.]

When your chiles are cooled and seeded, dice them.

In a large bowl, combine the chiles, orange zest, and citrus segments. Stir in the oil, salt and sugar. Let sit for about 20 minutes, then stir in the green onions and serve.

THE FISH:

Cook your fish however you want. We broiled it:

Preheat your oven to broil. Rub salt and pepper on your fish [ours had the skin on one side]. Place it on a broiler pan and stick it in the oven. To tell if it was done, make sure the thickest part of the fillet flakes with a fork.

Having personally only deep fried, pan fried, grilled and poached fish before, clearly, we winged it.

THE VERDICT:

Before eating, I had the suspicion that this was going to be a pretty boring salsa. It’s just a bunch of fruit, right? But the jalapeño really does its part to add kick. You will be surprised by the spice. Tasted great with the snapper, and a side of simply roasted red potatoes with salt, pepper, olive oil and dried rosemary. [Apparently, I wasn't super dilliegent in scraping all the seeds out of the peppers and caught at least couple with a bite of fish, forcing me to run to the fridge for a third Sierra Nevada. CP.]

I say, cut the amount in half and this will be a quick meal for when you don’t feel like pulling out all the stops.

See you next week, when we go even more Mexican with Guava, Lime and Ancho chile salsa.

–Magdalene Perez

Categories: food, General
Magdalene Perez

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2 Responses

  1. Monica Potts says:

    Cutting the ribs and seeds out of jalapenos is the worst. That oil stays on your fingers forever!

  2. Shira says:

    Great, now I’m hungry. Again.