Cinco de Mayo recipes: Salsa fresca and guacamole

May 03, 2011|By Jasmine Wiggins

This is the kind of salsa I’m used to having at home in Arizona. It uses fresh ingredients and none of it’s pureed or cooked. I used to get into arguments with my Texas boyfriend about what made the perfect salsa. (He would secretly cook and puree my salsa when I wasn’t around.) Well, I think my  version is better than his. Of course.

Salsa Fresca

About 1lb fresh tomatoes
1/4 C cilantro
1/4 C red onion
1 medium jalapeno (remove the seeds or start with half if you like milder salsa)
3-4 cloves garlic
sea salt
2 TBS fresh lime juice

Make sure all ingredients are properly rinsed. Dice the tomatoes and put in a small bowl. Chop the onion and cilantro and add to bowl. Smash and mince the garlic and add. Mince the jalapeno as small as you can. Be careful. Some use gloves to avoid getting burned. I throw my jalapeno into a mini food processor to avoid contact.

I like my salsa hot, so I add the jalapeno seeds. If you like more of a medium salsa, leave out the seeds. If you can’t take the heat, try half of a jalapeno with no seeds, and work your way up to a desirable heat level. Add about 1 lime’s worth of juice. Season with salt to taste.

Fresh Guacamole

3 ripe avocados
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
1/4 C red onion, chopped
1 medium jalapeno (remove the seeds or start with a half if you like things less spicy), minced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
sea salt
2 TBS fresh lime juice
1 medium tomato

I find that using a mortar and pestle really makes for a flavorful guacamole. If you don’t have one, mashing the ingredients together with a fork also works to release their flavors.

Combine half of the cilantro (reserve the rest for later), the red onion, jalapeno, garlic, and salt (about 1/4 tsp) and mash with fork or crush with pestle until a paste forms.
Cut each avocado in half, and score the inside so that you have cubes. Scoop out the avocado cubes with a spoon. To remove the seed, slide your spoon around the seed to loosen it, and pop it out. Add the avocado cubes to mixture in your bowl. Mash the ingredients together. Cut the tomato in half and squeeze each half so all the seeds and extra juice come out. (Beats coring!) Chop the tomato, and add the remaining cilantro and the lime juice to the avocado mixture. Mix. Season with more salt or lime if necessary. I like to refrigerate this for at least an hour before serving.

Tip: Keep the pit. Save the seed and keep it in your guacamole. It will help keep it from turning brown.

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