Monday, July 4, 2011

Nectarine Salsa

I appear to be in a salsa rut, but it is high summer after all, and this is soooooo yummy. It's quick, and only has a little kick of heat. This would be great on tacos or grilled meats or fish of all varieties. Or just eat it with chips.

Nectarine Salsa
(makes about a cup and a half)
2 nectarines, skinned and diced small (see notes below)
1 red pepper, roasted, seeded and diced small (see notes below)
1-2 jalapenos, all seeds removed, then minced finely
3 scallions, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
2 T minced fresh cilantro
Kosher salt to taste

For this recipe, I like semi-firm nectarines - not fully ripened, but not hard and woody. At the store, feel them for just a slight amount of give, and smell them - they should have a bright nectarine smell. If they don't have a smell, they're not ripe!

I peel nectarines by first cutting away chunks of the flesh from the pit, using a paring knife. Cut as close to the pit as you can, feeling your way with the knife as you go. Next, lay the slices skin-side down on a cutting board, and working carefully so you don't cut yourself, cut with the paring knife parallel to the board, removing just a thin layer of the skin and as little flesh as possible. They are round, so you'll have to do this from a few different angles. Cut the skinned nectarines into small dice - about 1/8th inch.

Roasting red peppers is magical and easy. Rub the pepper with a little oil. Over a gas burner or grill, char it black all over. You can do this under the broiler as well. Make sure it's black - it won't burn the flesh. Important: put the pepper in a bowl and cover it with a plate or some foil and let it sit for 10 minutes. This will steam and loosen the skin. Remove the pepper to a cutting board, cut off the stem end (be careful - it will still be hot!), pull out all the seeds and pith, and remove all of the charred skin (most of it will flake or rub can use a paring knife to scrape loose any stubborn bits). That's it!

Mince scallions by making a horizontal slice along the length of the scallion starting at the green part and going through the white part. Then cut into thin slices up to the point where you started the lengthwise cut.

Tip on selecting limes: the juiciest ones have smooth, shiny skin. The bumpy ones are woodier and less juicy. If your half lime doesn't yield much juice, use a whole lime.

Mix all ingredients. Season - use enough salt so you can just taste it, but it's still sweet. You may need to double this recipe - it goes fast!!

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