Whether in jarred-form or homemade, what is it about that sweet/spicy blend of fruit and chiles into a salsa that inspires love sonnets or utter repulsion? Personally, growing up on Southern sweet tea has primed me for a palate that can handle all types of sugariness, so I love fruit salsas. Others in the office don't share that same sentiment on sweetness combined with fire.
Whether you love or hate them, you can't argue with the popularity of fruit salsas. For our Salsa Scoop taste-test in the May issue of Chile Pepper, 70 to 80 salsas were submitted, three times as many salsas than in usual taste-tests. Every type of fruit imaginable—from papaya to green tomatoes to cherries—was in a salsa form, but our faves had one component in common: fruity freshness with a balance of sweet and heat.
A few highlights:
Appledore Cove Balsamic Strawberry Salsa "Really digging the strawberries," commented one taste-tester. This salsa sports a substantial berry taste that blends nicely with tomatoes. Unapologetically sweet, this is fruit salsa in all its glory, though the balsamic vinegar and burgundy wine do add a splash of acidity. Stuff this mild salsa into a crêpe with sour cream. Yummy.
Pain Is Good Georgia Peach Salsa Pepper combines with peach in this salsa, which is also sweetened with apricot nectar. Onion bits make for a chunky texture in a salsa loaded with green chiles and jalapeños. More on the mild side, this is a great salsa to encourage budding chileheads (especially kids!).
Rosa Mexicano Salsa de Piña "Now this is the pineapple salsa I've been waiting for," said one taster of the salsa's tart, salty perfection with a pow of heat. With just a tiny hit of smoke and tastefully sweet flavor, this salsa should be savored straight on a chip (or out of the jar).
Want to make your own fruit salsa? It's easy enough! Whether mounding it on a chip or topping grilled chicken, this Grapefruit-Avocado Salsa will make guacamole jealous--the fruit salsa uses the velvety smoothness of avocado to create magic with tart ruby red grapefruit. Quickly pickled onions and chiles add crunch, acidity and heat.
- Yield:4 servings
- For the pickled onions
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 sliced red onion
- 2 to 3 serrano chiles, sliced
- For the salsa
- 2 ruby red grapefruits, segmented and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 8 to 10 mint leaves, julienned
- 1 avocado, chopped
In a small bowl, combine vinegar and sugar. Whisk together until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add onion and chiles, and stir. Let sit for 30 minutes to marinate. Drain vinegar mixture, reserving the pickled onions and chiles. Discard the vinegar, or reserve for another use.
In a medium bowl, combine the grapefruit segments, cilantro, mint and salt. Mix in onions and chiles, and check for seasoning. Add avocado, and gently toss to combine. Serve with chips or over any meat, like grilled chicken.