Cantina Style Strawberry Salsa with Hatch Chiles--a tangy combination of sweet and heat, perfect for dipping thin & crispy tortilla chips and endlessly snacking
My spouse and I are getting into those super-thin tortilla chips--restaurant or cantina style--that go so well with the aptly named cantina style [liquid, not chunky] salsa. While we were out having margaritas last month I was mindlessly chowing down on that stuff. The deceptively small bowls make me not realize how often I was digging in--but it's so good! Don't get me wrong, I love a nice chunky salsa as well--those sturdy chips need something to do after all--and it's terrific mixed in with scrambled eggs, Taco Rice, oh the chunky salsa uses list goes on . . .
I love my mindless snacking, though, and when that involves the sweet + heat that is this salsa, well, it's a thing of beauty.
I thought this up while driving 500 miles home last week. I had 4 quarts of strawberries (tip o' the hat to AnnieRie for the Larriland suggestion) and a trash bag full of kale my dad had harvested from his garden. I also had Wee Oliver Picklepants as my only company, and his back is hurting so he wasn't saying much [hashtagmiddle-agedruntywienerdogproblems]. I also kept forgetting to switch CDs when I'd stop, and didn't want to flip through the selections while driving, so I pretty much occupied myself with thinking up strawberry and kale recipes all 8+ hours of driving. You've been warned.
|I was concerned about sending the wrong message about the visible rings in this photo-they are now off for storage.|
I knew I wanted to 1) use strawberries, 2) make a spicy salsa, using the last of the roasted Hatch chiles I picked up at my local grocery store last August, 3) make a restaurant style salsa and 4) can my salsa, so I thought it would be a cinch to find a recipe in the Giant Recipe Book That Is The Internet. You know what? No luck. Sure--if I wanted a chunky salsa, a fresh salsa, or a salsa for dipping with cinnamon chips I'd be set. But I had my parameters and I was stickin' to them.
Off to my trusty library and Marisa McClellan's trusty Food In Jars cookbook. There, I adapted her peach salsa recipe--one that she says is essentially an adaptation of her tomato salsa recipe--to use what I had on hand. I also started it off in the blender because I knew I wanted a smooth salsa [and I'm lazy].One nice side effect I wasn't expecting--the strawberry DNA [coolest 7th grade at home science project ever] thickens with the vinegar to make a salsa that clings nicely to the chip and doesn't slide immediately off like some restaurant salsas I've had.
Cantina Style Strawberry Salsa (Makes 4 pints for the pantry + some for the fridge to snack on)
2 quarts strawberries, hulled
1 large sweet onion, peeled and quartered
1 ½ cups white vinegar
6 Hatch chiles, roasted (tops removed but I threw in the rest)
¾ cup white sugar
3 large cloves roasted garlic (here's how I put up my crop)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
Place clean canning jars in a pot of water and get this heating so it's boiling when you are ready to can. Or just plan to freeze or refrigerate this salsa--I imagine it would work fine too.
Eat a couple of strawberries--my daughter did, so I know I didn't start off with a full 2 quarts.
Place onion and strawberries in a blender (unless you want a chunky salsa, then just chop to your liking). Pour vinegar over top, and pulse a few times to chop everything together. Add chiles, sugar, and garlic. Blend thoroughly. Pour into a 3 quart saucepan, and stir in cumin and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Taste--see if you want more berries, more chiles or less vinegar. I wanted less vinegar--too bad so sad--so I ended up adding more strawberries which brought my total to nearly 2 quarts. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro.
Ladle into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
For detailed canning instructions please refer to the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
|4 quarts of strawberries made this, plus some shortcakes for dessert, plus some for snacking|