It’s football season, and that means it’s time to break out your best chips and dips for game-time snacking. But instead of just opening up a jar this year, why not try your hand at homemade salsa? It’s easier than you might think, especially if you follow these five steps:
- Decide on a Type
There are numerous salsa recipes available online and in cookbooks, but to start searching you’ll need to choose a basic type. The different types of salsa include southwestern salsa recipes, which might incorporate beans and corn; pico de gallo salsa dips, which are also called salsa frescas and are composed of only a few fresh ingredients typically hand chopped together; and even cooked fruit salsas, which often combine sweet and smoky flavors. If this is your first time, consider starting with a classic mild salsa dip using tomato, onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and salt.
- Pick Your Poison
Here’s a fun bit of trivia: Tomatoes come from the same family as nightshade, which is deadly, and early Europeans who encountered them feared they were poisonous. There’s no hard and fast rule on the best tomatoes for salsa, but you can adjust the sweetness of your final product by selecting the right variety. In general, choose tomatoes that have a higher proportion of firm outer flesh to inner pulp. Roma tomatoes are a popular choice because they have fewer seeds than other varieties. You’re not limited to red tomatoes, either, though that’s what you’re used to seeing in a classic mild salsa dip: Green, orange and yellow tomatoes add both visual interest and slightly different flavors to salsa. And remember that tomatoes from your garden or a farmer’s market will always be more flavorful than what you get at the grocery store.
- Use Fresh Herbs
In a pinch, a little dried oregano is better than nothing. But fresh herbs bring a brighter, clearer flavor to your salsa, particularly if you’re making salsa fresca (in which all ingredients are raw).
- Don’t Cheap Out on Oils and Vinegars
Oils and vinegars add flavor in addition to tweaking how sweet or acidic your salsa turns out. Make sure you’re using high-quality products, not the average canola oil you’d fill your fryer with.
- Don’t Stop with Chips
Salsa and tortilla chips are a classic combination, but your homemade version will go just as well with main dishes. It’s unlikely you’ll have leftover salsa when the game finishes, but if you do, look up recipes with salsa dip as an ingredient. A classic mild salsa dip is the perfect way to top off a marinated tri-tip or simple grilled chicken breasts, adding flavor without being overwhelming.
What are your tips for making salsa at home? For more information, read this website.