I love salsa. Chips and salsa are my favorite snack of all time.
I first learned how to make it when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I was best friends with a girl down the street. Her family was Mexican and they made the best salsa.
It was a quick and easy dip made with the blender. It only has a handful of fresh ingredients, and was heavy on the cilantro. It was my go-to salsa for many, many years.
When we first moved to Kenai, I saw recipes in several cookbook for mango salsa. The salsa I was used to making was similar to a salsa verde and was blended to make a really uniform dip, free of any chunks. Mango salsa is the opposite of that. It’s almost like a salad, with all of the individual parts coming together to form a really satisfying taco topper, dip or side dish.
This recipe can easily be riffed on and I typically just use whatever I have lying around. Sometimes I like to add some chopped avocado to the mix for added creaminess. Sometimes I like to add a glug of olive oil to help really combine everything.
Recently, I’ve been adding a heaping pinch of sumac, which is a deep red powder that’s citrusy, tart and a teeny bit spicy. It comes from the fertile crescent and is used all over the world to add a punch to dishes and spice mixes, like Za’atar.
This is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of recipe. So if you don’t like cilantro, leave it out. If you like pineapple or peaches more, use those. Adverse to spicy peppers? Use just the serrano or just the jalapeno. Want it extra spicy? Use more serrano or jalapenos. Feel like you want more or less of something? Adjust accordingly.
Life is what you make it and so is this salsa.
1 bunch of cilantro
2 red bell peppers
1 red onion
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
garlic powder or finely minced garlic, to taste
A big pinch of sumac or cayenne or cumin
Finely chop the mango, cilantro, bell peppers, onion and peppers. Place chopped produce in a large bowl. Using a spoon, start to mix everything together until combined.
Slice the lime in half and squeeze the juice over the chopped produce. Add the salt, pepper, garlic and sumac. Use the spoon to combine everything together once more.
Serve with tacos, seafood, in a Mexican-inspired rice bowl, with chicken, with chips or simply enjoy on its own with a spoon.
• By Victoria Petersen, For the Peninsula Clarion