Summer is here and I’m so excited to just sit in the backyard and on the deck and have our meals outside. I always looked forward to summer meals when I was a kid – we had a beautiful deck and backyard and my mom always made these great, snacking style dinners – probably where my obsession with charcuterie came from. But it’s so nice in the summer to not have to always turn on the stove and cook a big meal. We would often have a piece of grilled salmon, steak or chicken off the BBQ and then a nice light salad to go with it; cucumber salads, pasta salads, and many more.
I take it a step further – with chips, dips, veggies and cheeses – I could honestly eat like this all the time, but I’ll admit it feels strange in the winter. That’s when you want a cozy board of rich cheeses, cured and smoked meats, and a big bottle of red wine.
So in celebration of summer, warm weather and snacking outside in the sunshine, I’m giving you one of my favourite salsa recipes. This was originally created to go with mini crab cakes on my old catering menu many years ago – but this salsa is so versatile we have adopted it as a staple at home.
YIELD – approx. 21/2 cups
- 2 cups diced fresh pineapple, with juices
- 1 roasted red pepper, diced with juices (about 1/3 cup)*
- 1/4 cup diced red onion, loosely packed
- 1/4 cup rough chopped cilantro
- 1-2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- pinch of salt
Special Notes: if you want to roast the red pepper, I give you the method below; but feel free to use store-bought roasted red peppers – they are perfectly fine and just make the recipe that much easier. Just rinse them off before using them.
- If you are roasting the pepper, preheat the oven to 450F. cut the pepper in half and remove the stem and seeds. On a parchment lined baking sheet, lay the pepper cut side down and roast for about 20 minutes, or until skins are very dark and have sunken.
Let the peppers cool for a few minutes until they are cool enough to handle and remove the skins. If you have a reusable freezer bag, you can add the hot peppers there and seal them tight for about 10 minutes. It will steam the skins making them super easy to peel off.
- While the peppers are cooling, dice and chop the pineapple, red onion and cilantro and add to a small mixing bowl. Try and add the juices from the pineapple when you diced it too – they add a nice extra sweetness to the salsa.
- Once the peppers are cooled, dice and scrape into the mixing bowl with any juices. Stir until all items are mixed together and add in apple cider vinegar. Start with one tablespoon and only add the second one if you feel you need more. The vinegar adds just the right amount of tang to the salsa and is not meant to overpower.
- Season with salt and serve. Salsa can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 days in an airtight container. You may just want to drain some of the juices when you eat it next.
This salsa isn’t just good for chips and dips; it is amazing on so many other things. Some of my favourites – on top of crab cakes (as I mentioned above that is what I originally created it for), it is fantastic with salmon (or on salmon burgers), or halibut, on shrimp tacos, with grilled flank steak, on pork purgers, or even with a roasted chicken. It truly is one of the most versatile salsa’s I’ve ever made. It also happens to be a very healthy snack!
Some of you are probably wondering if you NEED to roast the red peppers – the answer is YES. But again, feel free to buy them at the store. The roasted red pepper adds a depth of flavour that you just don’t get with a fresh pepper. Don’t get me wrong, you can make this salsa with a fresh pepper and it will be delicious, it will also be very different – so it’s up to you.
Hope you all have a happy week of BBQing and sunshine.
Till the next recipe,