Meche’s Salsa Fresca

Some time ago, with Meche’s permission, I shared her recipe for guacamole on “Courage in the Kitchen.” Since fresh vegetables are still available at the local Farmers Markets, it’s not too late to make a batch of Meche’s Salsa Fresca. Salsa Fresca literally means “fresh sauce.” It is also called Pico de Gallo, which translates as “rooster’s beak,” heaven knows why. I prefer to call it salsa fresca.

Unlike the salsas you buy in jars at the supermarket, salsa fresca is made with fresh uncooked vegetables and must be stored in the refrigerator, It’s a wonderfully refreshing dip with tortilla chips, a flavorful sauce over scrambled eggs, and goes great with tacos, enchiladas and burritos.

And if you are counting carbs or watching calories, you would be hard pressed to find a better food to complement a low carb low calorie meal.

Meche made clear that her recipe is just a guide. Feel free to change the proportion of ingredients and even add some other ingredients such as radishes, cucumbers or even salad shrimp. Meche even said that the avocado was optional, but she seems to include one most of the time, and I like avocados. Start with tomatoes, onion, peppers and lime juice and go on from there.

4 medium tomatoes (about 3 inches in diameter)
1 small onion (1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter)
2 to 3 Jalapeño peppers or Serrano chiles
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 large clove garlic
2 T fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 avocado

Wash all the vegetables thoroughly. Remove the stem scar and cut the tomatoes in half. Remove the seeds and pulp and chop the tomatoes into half inch pieces. Peel and finely chop the onion.

Remove the stems, seeds and white membrane from the peppers and chop them into a quarter inch dice. Remove the coarse stems from the cilantro and chop the leaves finely. Peel and mince the garlic.

Cut a firm, barely ripe avocado in half, remove the seed and scoop the flesh from the rind with a spoon. Chop the halves into a coarse dice.

Stir the tomatoes, onion, peppers, cilantro and garlic together in a medium bowl. Juice a lime and stir two tablespoons of the fresh juice into the vegetables along with the salt.

Taste and add salt or more juice if necessary.

NOTES: For a milder salsa, substitute part of a green bell pepper for one or two of the jalapeño peppers. For a spicier salsa, use Serrano peppers or add a dash of hot sauce. If you like garlic, add an extra clove.

This recipe works best with an avocado that is very firm. If it feels just slightly soft when you press on the rind, it is right for salsa. If your avocados have gotten too soft, do not despair. Here’s a link to the recipe for Meche’s Guacamole

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