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Super-easy secret for great salsa. October 21, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. I discovered what the ads that constantly flood my e-mail refer to as “one ridiculously easy trick” for deepening the flavor of jarred salsa when our friend Ben and I were on the road recently visiting family in Nashville. It appears that the “complimentary” breakfast has completely replaced the hotel restaurant; I can’t remember the last time I saw a hotel with a restaurant. And while most hotels now offer some hot entrees along with their cerals and breakfast pastries, these are not, in my opinion, exactly edible.

OFB and I were staying in a nice hotel in Nashville, and it made quite an effort to offer a variety of both hot and cold selections for breakfast: omelettes or scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, French toast, waffles or pancakes, and diced potatoes, as well as real oatmeal (not instant), yogurt, fresh fruit, an assortment of cereals, bagels, English muffins, toast, doughnuts, and pastries, and three kinds of fruit juice, as well as coffee and tea. By today’s standards, this was a luxurious spread. But pre-made omelettes with runny orange cheese, limp bacon, and soggy potato cubes are still not our idea of food, complimentary or otherwise.

You might gather (correctly) from the above that OFB and I like our breakfast hot, and I like mine light. While OFB was piling omelettes, English muffins, potatoes and bacon on his plate, I was trying to convince myself that a couple of spoonfuls of potatoes would actually be edible, paired with a small serving of citrus. Unfortunately, the soft, spongy nature of the cubed potatoes weren’t doing much to reassure me. What could I do to boost their flavor and conceal their less-than-crispy texture?

Fortunately, the hotel came to the rescue. In addition to salt and pepper, they’d set out packets of salsa and ketchup. One or the other would surely help those pitiful potatoes. I grabbed salt, pepper, two salsa packets, and one ketchup, and headed to the table OFB and I had selected. Then, unsure which would be better, I had an inspiration: I opened all three packets and mixed them together.

The result was startlingly, amazingly good. The heat and texture of the salsa merged perfectly with the depth of tomatoey goodness of the ketchup, resulting in a rich, balanced salsa you could never get out of a grocery-store jar. It not only made the potatoes edible, it was an instant hit with OFB on his omelettes, perking them up and offsetting that Velveeta-like cheese.

I’m not suggesting that anyone dump ketchup into delicious fresh homemade salsa. Eeewww!!!!!! That would be blasphemy. But, if you’re like me, you keep a few jars of storebought salsa on hand in case you’re cooking and a starving OFB demands salsa, chips and cheese while he’s waiting for his supper. When preparing his salsa dipping bowl, adding 1/4 ketchup to 3/4 salsa really makes a difference, and it ups the healthy, cancer-fighting lycopene content of the salsa considerably along with the flavor. I’m very happy to have stumbled on this discovery! Try it, and let me know what you think.

            ‘Til next time,

                         Silence

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1. Lea - October 21, 2012

I’ve found ketchup is good to add to cocktail sauce, because I like a slightly milder taste with my shrimp. And we always add ketchup to chili – it make a blah chili taste good, and a good chili taste great! I’ll try adding it to salsa to improve the taste, too. Thanks!
Have a wonderful day!
Lea
Lea’s Menagerie


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