Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Mango Tomatillo Salsa - because Why Not?

So a friend and I were discussing meal plans via the Book of Faces.... and I happened to mention that I had set the crock pot up to slow cook a pork roast for Carnitas Tacos. And then I mentioned that I was making fresh Guacamole, Roasted Jalapeno Cilantro Crema, and Mango Tomatillo Salsa to go on the tacos.

Yes, making.  I prefer fresh and since I'm retired its not like I don't have plenty of time on my hands to do 95% of the cooking from scratch at home.  Besides - store bought salsas never have the right balance for my taste buds, nor can I ever find a combination that suits my tastes completely.  Don't get me wrong - there are some truly spectacular salsas out there to be had from the local grocery store.  And living in Oklahoma, where there's a lot of Latino influence in the food culture and always has been, there are any number of varieties to be found.

The real problem with most Mango based salsa, for me, is that for the past 2 or 3 years it has been very trendy to inevitably pair it with Habanero pepper.  I love a good hot salsa - but the older I get (and I ain't gettin any younger!) the less those salsas love me back.  My intestinal tract inevitably lodges a protest - so I decided a while back to start making a Mango Salsa for myself that strictly avoids anything more potent than Jalapeno or Poblano peppers, both of which are considerably milder than Habaneros and Serranos.  (And don't even get me started on the nightmare that is the Carolina Reaper,  the Scorpion Bruce T, the Naga Viper, or the Bhut Jolokia/Ghost!)

This particular salsa is also a tad on the "different" side because I use Tomatillos (those are the little green tomato looking things usually found near the fresh peppers in the produce section) instead of the standard diced Tomato base that most folks think of when they think Salsa.

So to the nitty gritty ... this is not a difficult recipe, but it can be time consuming simply due to how much chopping of fresh produce is required.

1 medium mango, peeled, chopped into aprx 1/2 inch chunks
1 small red onion, diced
5 to 8 medium Tomatillos, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, minced (this can be adjusted or some other pepper if you prefer something with more kick!)
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper (adjust to taste)
1/4 teaspoon paprika 
1/2 teaspoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped (or 1/8 teaspoon dried) (adjust to taste or omit if you hate it)

Chop the mango, onion, and tomatillos to roughly the same size.  Mince the garlic and pepper very fine - almost into a paste.  Toss everything together with the salt, pepper, cumin, and cilantro in a bowl, and allow to sit in the fridge or at least 3 hours for the flavors to marry.

That's it.  That's all there is to it, really.  You can do variations on this by fire roasting the tomatillo and/or the pepper, and by using roasted garlic or black garlic instead.  Cilantro is optional - we like it, so I use it, but it doesn't suit everyone and can be left out completely.  Salt and Pepper are always adjusted to your own tastes.