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A quick trick for store-bought salsa. May 2, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, recipes.
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Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I love salsa, and I always try to have at least three kinds on hand: fresh hot salsa from the produce aisle of our grocery and jarred, i.e., cooked, red and green (salsa verde) salsas. They’re especially handy to have on Cinco de Mayo, when you can set them out, along with homemade guacamole (see my earlier post, “Great guacamole,” on that for a great recipe), and a big bowl of warm tortilla chips. Guests can grab their margaritas and small plates and graze contentedly while you put the final touches on the fiesta.

OFB and I are just fine with jarred red salsa, and it doesn’t have to be gourmet for us to like it. Chi-Chi’s and Tostitos medium-hot brands are okay with us. (OFB has been known to kick up the heat factor in his salsa with a splash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco Chipotle.) But a couple of years ago, I discovered how to really up the flavor ante in jarred salsa. It’s so easy, and so incredibly good!

A couple of years ago, OFB and I were staying at a hotel in Nashville. Like most hotels these days, it had a breakfast bar. OFB, a big fan of breakfast, was loading up his plate with Velveeta-stuffed omelettes, waffles, bacon, and cubed potatoes. My own appetite’s a bit more, let’s say, finicky, especially in the morning. Wondering if there was any hope that the potatoes might be edible, I put two spoons of them on my plate. But a taste confirmed that they were bland and mealy. Eeewww!!! How to give them some flavor and disguise that ghastly texture?

The answer lay in the condiment packets provided by the hotel. They’d set out salt and pepper, of course, but also salsa and ketchup packets. Surely either salsa or ketchup would perk up those pitiful potatoes! Grabbing salt, pepper, two salsa packets, and a ketchup packet, I returned to our table. Which to try first? Seized by an inspiration, I sprinkled the salt and pepper over the potatoes, then mixed the two salsa packets with the ketchup packet.

The result was extraordinary. I won’t say it brought limp, lukewarm hotel potatoes to life, though it certainly improved them. What it did was bring the salsa to life, merging the texture and complexity of the salsa with the depth and tomatoey goodness of the ketchup. After I started telling OFB about my discovery, he tried it on his omelettes and potatoes and proclaimed it a miracle as well.

Try it and see for yourself! Mix jarred salsa 3/4 to 1/4 ketchup, or as I did, 2/3 salsa to 1/3 ketchup. Yum!!! Suddenly, you have the richest, most delicious salsa this side of the Border. And no guest will ever know, since you don’t taste ketchup, just richness. When they proclaim your salsa the best ever, you can modestly reply that you just bought a jar at the store… or you can share the simple secret of great salsa, as I’ve done with you.

‘Til next time,

Silence

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