We generally assume two things about salsa that we shouldn’t.
First, that it must involve tomatoes. Second, that the ingredients should be chopped. Because while chopped tomato salsas are delicious, you don’t want those to be your only experience. There are so many other delicious ways to enjoy fresh salsa.
To prove the point, I offer this shaved grapefruit and corn salsa that gets its bite from jalapeno chilies and red radishes. The shaving — best done by a mandoline, though a food processor also could be used — produces a salsa that manages to be both substantial and light. The paper-thin slices of onion also better absorb the other flavors.
Lime juice and vinegar are the traditional sources of acid in many salsas, but this version gets all it needs from the grapefruit juice. A hit of sugar and the corn add the perfect sweet balance to the heat and acidity, and a bit of garlic ties it all together.
GRAPEFRUIT AND CORN SUMMER SALSA
This recipe calls for using a mandoline to shave the vegetables paper thin. If you don’t have one, you can use a food processor fitted with the slicing blade, though the vegetables will not be cut as thinly. Start to finish: 10 minutes. Servings: 6.
1 small red onion
4 medium red radishes
4 cloves garlic
½ jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds discarded
1 large ruby red grapefruit
1 ear corn
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and ground black pepper
Use a mandoline to shave the onion, radishes, garlic and jalapeno into a medium bowl. Take great care when shaving the garlic cloves. Toss well.
Slice off the top and bottom of the grapefruit, then set the grapefruit on one of its flat sides on a cutting board. Carefully cut down the sides of the grapefruit, working in strips, to slice off the skin and white pith, removing as little of the grapefruit flesh as possible. Try not to press the grapefruit while doing this; you don’t want to press the juices out.
Hold the peeled grapefruit in one hand over the bowl, then use a paring knife to carefully cut out the grapefruit segments. It is fine if the segments don’t hold together while doing this. When all of the segments are removed, squeeze the membranes of the grapefruit to add as much juice as possible to the bowl, then discard. Mix gently.
Cut the kernels from the ear of corn. To do this, stand the ear on its wide end and saw back and forth down the length of the cob. Add the kernels to the bowl, then mix. Add the sugar, mix, then season with salt and pepper. The salsa can be served immediately, or refrigerated. If chilled, let warm to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Nutrition information per serving: 45 calories; 5 calories from fat (11 percent of total calories); 0 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 1 g protein; 85 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM—Hirsch. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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