New Summer Recipes: Quick Summer Salsas

Quick salsas are a great way to bring a burst of summer flavor to your table, and with their mix of fresh fruit and vegetables, our Green Apple-Cucumber and Spicy Corn and Cherry salsas are the perfect partners for grilled meats, fish, salads, toast and tortilla chips.

In our opinion, a quick salsa should be easy enough to make in less than 30 minutes, and feature a limited blend of simple ingredients. We follow a simple formula that enables us to create an endless variety of quick salsas and also use up any leftover fruit and vegetables on hand.

First, select two main ingredients as your base – in this case, we have one with green apple and cucumber, and the other with sweet corn and cherries. Next, select the type of onion and hot pepper you prefer in your salsa: red onions bring lovely color but a sharper spice to the mix than green or white onions, and jalapeno peppers will be mellower than a spicier variety like habanero.

What kind of acidity do you want in your salsa? You could use white or red vinegar in a pinch, but we prefer fresh juice from citrus like lemons, limes, oranges and even grapefruit. Acid is important in a salsa, as it balances the flavors and also acts as a natural preservative. Both of our quick salsas can be refrigerated for at least a week and still retain their color and texture.

Fresh herbs are important to round out the flavor profile and bring more color to the mix. Take time to consider the overall flavor profile of the salsa to determine which herb(s) to use. Cilantro is a natural choice for salsa and we use it in both of our featured recipes, but you could use any fresh herb, or combination thereof, to brighten up your dish. For example, green apples and cucumbers both have a naturally cool, refreshing flavor, so we’ve also added fresh mint to further enhance that quality.

Finally, think of how you plan to serve the salsa to determine what size your main components should be. When serving with chips or bruschetta, we typically cut all of our fruit and veggies to a small dice, around a quarter of an inch, so that every biteful has an even blend of flavor. For grilled meats and seafood, we might adjust our cuts to a half-inch or so, but the main idea is to keep the size consistent among all ingredients.

At a recent family gathering, we served these salsas with grilled flank steak and mahi-mahi fish tacos and were delighted by our guests’ enthusiastic response to these untraditional toppings. The sweet corn and cherries paired beautifully with the savory grilled steak, while the refreshing green apple and cucumber salsa hit just the right note with the mild fish.

Both salsas can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to seven days, giving you the opportunity to enjoy them in many ways throughout the week.

Corn and Cherry Salsa

Makes: about 4 cups

Ingredients:
3 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen/thawed), roasted or plain
1 ½ cups fresh cherries, pitted and quartered
½ large red onion, small-diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust flavors and seasoning as desired.

Let salsa marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving for best results. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week. Serve with grilled meat or fish, or atop chips, toast and salads.

For additional flavor, add diced (cooked) bacon and/or bell peppers.

Green Apple and Cucumber Salsa

Ingredients:
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and diced into ¼-inch pieces (keep peel on for color)
1 medium cucumber or 2 small cucumbers, diced into ¼-inch pieces (keep peel on for color)
½ large red onion, diced into ¼-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust flavors and seasoning as desired.

Let salsa marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving for best results. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week. Serve with grilled fish, chicken and pork, or atop chips, toast and salads.

For additional flavor, add diced avocado just before serving.