Spring Entertaining Made Easy: Two Simple Fruit Salsa Recipes

| May 2, 2012 | 0 Comments
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fruit salsa
Having people over in the spring and summer months makes up for the gloomy weekends that February and March bring. You can smell the outdoor barbeques and hear neighbors sitting outside with friends. Kids are skating down city streets, and it’s light past 6 p.m. All good things. Also good is finding a few recipes that are simple to throw together, just a little unexpected in their flavor profiles, and appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. I think fruit salsas do the trick.

cilantro
Washing and Spinning Fresh Cilantro for Salsa

Entertaining means different things to different people. Whether it means having a few buddies over for some beer or planning a more structured dinner party, you get to see people you enjoy and hopefully eat something delicious. In our house lately, this involves good salty tortilla chips and fruity salsas. Typically you’ll see tomato-based salsas when you go out to eat, or you’ve likely seen mango salsas at higher-end grocery stores and Mexican restaurants. While I love pico de gallo and tomato salsas, there’s something really special about seasonal fruit salsas. They’re bright, fragrant, and add a welcome balance to the more typically savory foods that tomato salsas accompany.

strawberries
Market Fresh Strawberries!

The nice thing about both of these recipes is that the fruit is in season right now. Go and get yourself some strawberries and an ataulfo mango! Because most of the ingredients are the same in each recipe, you can make a mental note when you’re at the store to grab some cilantro, a few jalapenos and limes and you’re going to be in pretty good shape. This is one of those appetizers you can actually throw together at the last minute if unexpected folks arrive or you run out of time to make something more complicated. There’s a bit of chopping involved which I love when I’m having people over because you can put them to work! This obviously saves you time, but I find that people end up gathering in the kitchen anyway, and right when folks arrive at a party it can be nice to have a task to take the pressure off of standing around and making small talk right away.

fruit salsa
Salsa Duo: Ready to Party.

May, in particular, is a great month to entertain and make fresh salsa at home. Obviously, we have Cinco de Mayo and it’s also National Salsa Month. So there’s a lot of salsa going on. If I were you, I’d stray from the norm just a bit with fresh fruit instead of tomato. Both the Strawberry and Mango/Cucumber Salsas are wonderful with just tortilla chips, but if you have leftovers, they’re also great on top of grilled fish or chicken. Or stirred into leftover rice with some chopped parsley for a quick lunch. A soft-boiled egg on top makes a heartier meal. You’ll see: the uses are endless. Happy spring, and happy salsa making.

Spring Strawberry Salsa
As with the mango salsa, if you prefer a spicier salsa, feel free to keep the seeds from the jalapenos and add them in. I call to discard them here just because I think a milder salsa is really nice with both of these fruits, but feel free to adapt to suit your spice threshold.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: n/a
Total Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:
16 ounces strawberries (2 1/2 cups), rinsed, hulled, and finely diced
1 jalapeno, minced; ribs and seeds discarded
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Preparation:
Select your favorite serving bowl, and combine all of the ingredients inside the bowl. Stir carefully but thoroughly to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with salty tortilla chips and, preferably, beer.

Mango, Cucumber, Avocado Salsa
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: n/a
Total Time: 15 minutes

For this recipe, I use ataulfo mangoes because they’re readily available right now and don’t have the characteristic stringiness or fibrousness that some other mangoes have. Ataulfo mangoes are also called honey, champagne or manilla mangoes — look for them.

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:
3 ripe mangos, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, minced; ribs and seeds discarded
1/2 of a small cucumber, peeled and diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Choose your favorite medium serving bowl, and combine all of the ingredients inside the bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with salty tortilla chips and, preferably, beer.

Other Easy Spring Entertaining Recipes:

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Category: Bay Area Bites Food + Drink, holidays and traditions, recipes

About the Author ()

Megan Gordon is originally from Eureka, CA although she's lived in numerous college towns around the country (another story altogether). A freelance food and travel writer, Megan has written for publications like Ready Made Magazine, The San Francisco Examiner, Edible SF and Edible Marin & Wine Country, Olive Oil Times and The San Francisco Bay Guardian. She writes regularly for Apartment Therapy's The Kitchn and maintains her own local food blog, A Sweet Spoonful. Yes, Megan even tweets @meganjanesf. In addition to writing and photographing food, Megan is the founder (and head baker) of Marge, a Bay Area baking company specializing in classic American pies and nostalgic desserts.