Fresh and Spicy Peach Salsa
Alright, as with any salsa, the golden rule is: The riper your ingredients, the better your salsa. (Shop local. Hit your farmers’ market. Grow your own!) You guys know the deal.
Be sure to pick the plumpest, juiciest looking peaches and tomatoes you can get your paws on. A good, ripe peach should be mouthwateringly fragrant and really smell like a peach when you sniff it.
This is one of my favorite fruity salsas. The sweetness of the peaches is offset by spicy Serrano chilis, lime, cilantro, and an unexpected party guest: cool, crisp cucumber.
I don’t add a lot of additional spices to this, just a little fresh garlic and some chopped shallot (which is milder than onion). Dial the amount of chili up or down to suit your taste.
Ideally, make this a few hours ahead to let the flavors meld. The whole thing is ridiculously refreshing and delicious. It’s a great way to enjoy the flavors of summer.
If you wanted to, you could even try cooking this recipe down for a saucier salsa. (My best guess: I’d omit the cucumber, add a little sugar, then simmer for an hour or so, stirring frequently, until the mixture is reduced by about half.)
Serve it with chips (try my Easy Baked Tortilla Chips Dusted with Chipotle Salt).
Use it to top grilled chicken or pork. Tuck a layer into wraps or fajitas. You can even semi-puree it and serve it as gazpacho.
The short version of the recipe goes like this
Whack up all the fruits and veggies into bite size pieces. Combine. Let sit for a few hours if you can bear to wait. Inhale. Enjoy.
Read on for more info on chopping, etc.—as well as some unabashed fruit porn.
Spicy Peach Salsa
3 cups ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 4 tomatoes)
4 cups ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 5 large peaches)
2 shallots, minced
1 English cucumber, diced (about 4 cups)
2 serrano chilis, diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro, minced
1 Tbls. rice wine vinegar
kosher salt to taste
Chop, chop, chop!
Grab your tomatoes. (I’ll admit it: These are hothouse tomatoes. When I went to the market for this post, I couldn’t find a good looking, local tomato to save my life.) Give them a rinse under cold water and dry them off.
Whack them in half.
And then in quarters. Scoop out the seeds and discard. (Some people prefer to leave them in.)
Dice them up. Don’t make yourself nuts trying to get them all the same size. (After all, it’s salsa.)
Toss the tomatoes in a large bowl.
Peel your peaches.
I peel mine in a big, spiral ribbon using a paring knife.
Chunk the peaches up into bite-sized pieces.
Peel and chop the shallot. (I usually do slightly smaller pieces of the shallot.)
Slice and dice the English cucumber. I leave the peel on, but feel free to remove it.
(English cukes are those long cukes that usually come shrink-wrapped in plastic in the U.S. I like them because they’re nearly seedless. They also tend to be less bitter than regular cukes, and their skin is usually thin. If you can’t find one, you can definitely use a couple of regular old garden cucumbers. Just peel them and scoop out the seeds before you chop.)
Roughly chop the serrano chili. Now, serranos are just above jalapenos on the Scoville scale (which measures the hotness factor of different chilis). Definitely swap your chili up or down on the scale to adjust the heat.
Did you know?
A lot of the heat from chilis lives in the seeds and ribs of the chili. I like my salsa on the hot side, so I use the whole chili—ribs and seeds and all. If that’s not your thing, slice the peppers long-ways and remove the ribs and seeds before chopping. (Always wash your hands after. If you want to be extra cautious, don’t feel bad about wearing gloves.)
Chop the garlic and cilantro and toss them in, too. Add a pinch or two of kosher salt. (Go easy. You can always add more after you taste it, but you can’t get it out once you put it in.)
Add the rice wine vinegar and squeeze in the lime juice. (For extra lime-y flavor, add the lime zest to the salsa, too.)
I always tend to use a citrus reamer on the limes, because it helps you wring every last bit of juice out. (Don’t have one? Grab one on Amazon for about five bucks.)
Give it a taste and add more salt if you think it needs it.
Ideally, let the salsa sit for an hour or two in the fridge to let the flavors mingle. It will get a little juicier as it sits (the salt will draw out some of the moisture from the fruit and veggies).