Fresh Salsa from a Box Chunky, saucy, scoopable, and packed with fresh flavor By Guest Blogger, Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto Salsa is on my mind this month. One that features a nice balance of crunchy, sweet, tart and spicy. Hey…our chips, tacos, and grilled meats deserve the best. And by “best,” I mean a salsa that’s chunky, saucy, scoopable, and packed with fresh flavor. Last Wednesday I opened my front door and there was a big box delivered by FedEx from Melissa’s/World Variety Produce, Inc. (Melissa’s). The box was overflowing with FRESH ingredients I requested for this month’s culinary project. This is an easy year-round recipe for boaters and land lovers AND...you can order all the ingredients from Melissa’s or find them in your local supermarket. I had been anticipating this delivery and was really happy to see it. I swiftly opened the box and saw a wonderful display of fruits and vegetables. Some were familiar, some not so much. For the “not so much,” I pulled out my Melissa’s Great Book of Produce by Cathy Thomas to understand what had been sent to me. I am an adventurous home chef. This box of goodness was right up my alley. I printed off the salsa recipe from Melissa’s website under the heading “recipes”. Just type in a key word like salsa and you will find lots of recipes to try. I chose Chef Tom Fraker’s Spicy Exotic Salsa (recipe below). I then proceeded to prepare the fruits and vegetables per the recipe. As I said, a few of the items I had to refer to Cathy’s book to get them ready to use. I’ve never worked with Dragon Fruit or Feijoa but it was great that I could look them up in the book, see a picture and get help on how they were to be prepared and used in recipes. I would have guessed wrong and scooped out and thrown out the insides and chopped up the hull (all backwards to the process). Thank you Cathy, disaster avoided! Since this is a pretty simple recipe, all I had to do was combine the ingredients with the juice of the limes and oranges provided. I was amazed how gorgeous this salsa looked in a crystal bowl, stacked in a mixing jar or two hollowed out dragon fruit halves. I felt like I was presenting my dish in the last round of Chopped. Next was the taste test. I tried it on my most critical judge, my husband. He likes salsas, but not ones that set your tongue on fire. He thought it was great. I was a bit leery since this recipe does have a habanero pepper in it. (I went a little off the recipe and only used about half of the pepper and the heat was fine.) Just remember when you work with peppers wear gloves so you don’t get the juice on your hands and then transfer it to your eyes or face. Make sure to wash and remove the stem and seeds from the pepper to keep the heat in check. I have had great reviews from everyone so far both when serve fresh and after it had a day to season up. One of the comments was this would go great with seafood like dip for cold shrimp not just chips. Hope you have as much fun making this dish as I did. Score another one for Melissa’s Produce. Recipe Compliments of Melissa’s/World Variety Produce, Inc. Spicy Exotic Salsa. 1/4 Melissa’s Perfect Sweet Onion or White Onion, peeled; diced small 1 Habanero Chile, stem removed; minced 4 ripe Roma Tomatoes, diced small 2 cups Melissa’s Exotic Fruit (Cherimoya; Dragon Fruit; Red Caribbean Papaya; Star Fruit; Feijoa), diced small 3/4 cup Melissa’s Jicama, peeled; diced small 1 Orange 1 Lime 3 Tablespoons Melissa’s Fresh Cilantro, chopped Kosher Salt, to taste Directions In a mixing bowl, add the onion, chile and tomatoes. Next, add the 2 cups of exotic fruit and the jicama. Cut the orange and the lime in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Add the cilantro and salt and mix well. Makes about 4 1/2 cups. # # # Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening.