Inspiration: I have to confess that I’m kind of lazy when it comes to salsas. I know. For as much as we love Mexican, Southwestern, and Tex-Mex food (and since those are my favorite kinds of food to cook), you’d think that I’d be whipping up my own salsas left and right. But it always ends up that I don’t want to spend a long time making a garnish, so I’ll either pull a jar of Brandon’s Mom’s homemade salsa out of the pantry (score!) or throw a bottle of one of Rick Bayless’ store-bought salsas into the grocery cart (those are pretty darn tasty, by the way – and with nice, natural ingredients). But when all is said and done, there is just nothing like a fresh, homemade salsa, so when it came to our Mexican-inspired Thanksgiving meal, I really wanted to make a homemade salsa as a prominent part of the meal. The idea of this cranberry salsa just sang to me, so I was more than happy to spend a few hours whipping it up. Cranberry sauce and salsa? Together? As soon as that thought entered my head, there was no way that I wasn’t making it.
What We Loved: Brandon and I both absolutely adored this salsa. It’s got all of the classic components of a good salsa – fire-roasted tomatoes, spicy jalapenos, fresh bell peppers and onions, and the lovely bright flavor of cilantr0 – but it also has an awesome velvety smooth and slightly fruity backbone from the cranberry sauce. That backbone is what makes the salsa so unique, and it’s what makes it marvelous. The salsa really does have this crazy, silky smooth texture, and the savory/spicy/fruity/just-a-touch-sweet flavor combination is killer. I particularly loved that there was still that familiar spicy bite from jalapenos and a fresh garden flavor from cilantro. We ate this atop roasted turkey, but I can see it paring great with chicken or white fish, too.
Tips: Make a double batch? And don’t forget to season with Kosher salt and pepper when the salsa is done. I found that a really good bit of salt really brightened up all of the flavors.
Source: Melissa d’Arabian
1/2 cup simple tart cranberry sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1 small jalapeno, coarsely chopped
1/2 white onion coarsely chopped, covered and microwaved for 1 minute
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup fire-roasted, adobo-flavored diced tomatoes
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1. Place the cranberry sauce, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, onion, red pepper, green pepper, and tomatoes in a food processor. Process until blended, but still a little bit chunky.
2. Season to taste with Kosher salt and black pepper.