When my good friend came back from a trip to El Paso and brought with her some amazing homemade tamales, I knew we needed a side dish worthy of their deliciousness. Just the ticket is something light -- the best homemade tamales are filling, dense, and intense.
Here is one of my favorite fast, easy ways to make a quick salsa cruda (a salsa made with raw ingredients). It combines the hot spiciness of raw serrano chiles with the cool, sweet smoothness of cucumber, avocado, mango, and of course, fresh-from the garden tomatoes.
Hot and Cool Summer Salsa
2 or 3 fresh serrano chiles
5 or 6 ripe tomatoes
1 large avocado
1 small mango
1 small sharp onion
1 large cucumber
a splash of olive oil
juice from 1 lime
salt to taste
Chop first 6 ingredients; toss together with olive oil, lime juice, and salt to taste. That's it! Of course, you can use a milder or hotter chile, according to your taste. You can even use a canned, picked chile for an even milder salsa. And by all means, remove the seeds and white membranes of the chile's to take some of the bite out. I don't have an extremely high tolerance for heat, so that's what I do. And the sweet, cool tomatoes, avocado, and mango seem to take some of the bite out of the chiles. Also delicious with fish and chicken.
On a related note: It might seem counter-intuitive, but hot spicy food is perfect for hot weather. It provides a strangely cooling, almost euphoric experience. All the finest world cuisines from hot climates are hot and spicy, after all.
This post part of Real Food Wednesday.