Every so often, I try my hand at veggie burgers. While I haven’t yet gotten that recipe exactly the way I want it, one of the accompaniments was so good it stole all the attention.
The local organic market had some lovely green tomatoes. I adore fried green tomatoes, so I bought three beauties and set them aside. I didn’t get around to frying them, so they ended up in the fridge. The night I made my veggie burgers, I decided to serve them with a salsa that had some flair, a kick, something different. I had some beautiful bi-color corn and two mangos that were so ripe, they were at their peak. And I had those green tomatoes. It seemed like a perfect trio.
Typical salsa verde is made with tomatillos. The green tomatoes seemed to call for an approach similar to salsa verde. I knew I wanted to use cilantro, but I was aiming for something hot, sweet, tart and crunchy.
Green tomatoes are sour. But tossed with lime juice, top quality cider vinegar, and mango, their tart tang settles down. The fresh corn needed only a brief sauté, keeping the raw crunch intact. The mango I used was so ripe, so very sweet, my first version was too sugary. The second time, I used only half a ripe mango and the results were far better.
I tried a version with half a ripe mango and caramelized onion. Loved it. With fresh cilantro and finely chopped jalapeno peppers, this salsa has all the makings of summer staple. Serve it with fish, chicken, or, of course, your favorite veggie burger. Or do what my husband did: eat a quarter of the bowl with chips when no one is looking. He’s from El Paso. His apparent -albeit stealthy- approval makes it official.
What You Need:
Non-stick sauté pan
Surgical gloves to handle the jalapeno
2 dinner size plates
1 medium large glass or other non-reactive bowl
Pasta serving dish, or another plate with 1-2 inch sides
Very sharp knife
2 ears of fresh, sweet bicolor corn
½ a very ripe mango, or 1 ripe mango that has not reached the sugary sweet stage
2 medium size green tomatoes
2-3 Tbls. fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper
½ large onion
1 Tbls. cider vinegar
1-2 Tbls. virgin olive oil
1 C. loosely packed cilantro
Salt to taste
Olive oil for the pan
What To Do:
Core and cut the green tomatoes into very small dice. If you are skilled with the food processor, pulse gently until the pieces are small, but not pulverized. Place the tomatoes in the bowl and add the lime juice. Toss and set aside.
Shuck and cut the kernels from the corncobs. I find that doing this in my pasta serving dish, which is a wide low bowl, keeps the kernels from flying out and ending up on the counter, or worse, the floor.
Heat a bit of olive oil in the skillet and give the kernels a quick sauté, barely one minute. Transfer the kernels to a plate and set aside to cool.
Cut the onion into small dice. Add a dash of olive oil to the skillet. Sauté the onions until they take on a golden brown color. To speed the process, I cover the onions and allow them to sweat over a low heat. Once they are very soft and translucent, remove the lid, raise the heat and sauté until golden. Set aside to cool. Transferring the onions to a plate will allow them to cool more quickly.
Peel the mango. Cut it into small pieces. If it’s extremely ripe, it will practically fall apart. If so, eat half and add the other half to the bowl with the tomatoes and lime juice. Wash your face so no one knows you ate half.
Put on your surgical gloves and core, then finely chop the jalapeno. Add them to the green tomatoes, mango and lime juice. Peel off the gloves so they are inside out, being careful not to touch any glove surface that has been in contact with the jalapenos. Wash the knife, the cutting board and your hands thoroughly with hot water. I do make them sound terribly dangerous, but for a reason. If you’ve ever touched your eye after handling a cut jalapeno, the sting and burn will be all the warning you’ll ever need. Just use the gloves.
Add the corn and carmelized onions to the bowl and toss everything together. Add the vinegar; toss well and season with salt to taste.
Cover the bowl and let the ingredients develop their flavors. After an hour, uncover and adjust the seasonings. At this point, you can add the cayenne. Feel free to add more lime juice, a bit more vinegar, even another chopped jalapeno if you’re extremely daring.
Chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, chop the cilantro and mix it into the salsa. Add 1 T. virgin olive oil and adjust, adding more to taste.
By Lisa ReitmanDobi