First off, let me apologize. I’m sorry that I could no longer handle the winter cold and had to get away for a couple of weeks. I apologize for the fact that as you read this, there’s a good chance it’s snowing outside, and an even better chance that I’m sitting on a beach working on my tan and reading trashy beach novels. I’m sorry, but it had to be done. Every year, we mean to book a vacation in the dead of winter, and we never get around to it. By the time February rolls around, we look at each other and curse our inability to plan ahead. Not this year.
This year, we’re spending some quality time in Puerto Rico. But don’t worry, thanks to some foresight and the technology to schedule posts ahead of time, I’m still able to bring you this bright flavorful salsa recipe I made last week. Which is important because it’s really delicious. And serious deliciousness like this can’t wait.
I’ve always found that in the middle of winter, one of the best things you can do is liven up your cooking with some bright sunny citrus and fresh herbs. Now, citrus is all well and good on its own. Trust me, we’ve been eating a lot of it this winter. But when you throw said citrus in a hot pan and get a nice char on it, it’s even better. What you get is a deeper, almost smoky flavor; perfect for salsa. This salsa comes together very quickly - simply char some citrus, throw some ingredients in the food processor, and 30 seconds later, you’ve got a bowl of salsa. It’s the perfect thing to top roasted chicken or fish, it’s wonderful on tacos, and it’s the perfect way to take your standard chips and salsa to the next level. Most importantly, it feels like a refreshing ray of sunshine in an otherwise cold and snowy winter, and that’s good enough for me.
Charred Citrus Salsa
makes about 1 ½ cups
- 2 navel oranges (I used Cara Cara)
- ½ lime (cut in half crosswise)
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves
- 1 Tbsp chopped red onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 serrano chile peppers, seeded if less heat is desired
- ½ tsp salt
1. Heat a cast iron pan or grill pan over medium high heat. Cut the oranges in half lengthwise, then in half again to make quarters. Once pan is hot, place the orange quarters, and the half of the lime in the pan, cut sides down. Cook until the flesh begins to char, about 2-3 minutes, then remove the lime and flip oranges to char the other cut side. Once all citrus is charred, remove from heat and let rest for about 5 minutes to cool.
2. Peel the rind off of the charred orange slices, then place them into a food processor. Squeeze the juice from the charred lime half into the food processor. Add the cilantro, mint, onion, garlic, chiles, and salt. Pulse until a finely chopped consistency is achieved about 20-30 seconds. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator.