Grilled Peach Salsa

Fresh, local peaches are drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fennel seed before being grilled until lightly blistered and caramelized.  Cooled, chopped and mixed with diced red onion, sliced Serrano peppers and fresh cilantro..

Grilled Peach Salsa

Grilled Peach Salsa (inspired by a recipe by Vivian Henoch)

3 fresh peaches
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons fennel seed (or 1 teaspoon fennel pollen)
2 Serrano peppers, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
fine sea salt

Plunge fresh peaches into boiling water for about 1-1/2 minutes to loosen the skin, then chill in a bowl of ice water.  Peel or rub the skin from the peaches, split them in half and remove the pit.  Blot the peaches dry, then lightly rub with olive and sprinkle with fennel seed.  Grill the peaches until slightly blistered and caramelized, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer to cutting board and allow to cool enough to handle.

Cut the peaches into 1/2 inch dice and combine with1 tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining ingredients (except salt) in a non-reactive bowl.  Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.  Remove from refrigerator, season to taste with salt and serve.

Fish Tacos with Yellow Tomato-Pineapple Salsa, Grilled Prickly Pear Cactus

Wild Alaskan cod is lightly spritzed with olive oil and seasoned with freshly-toasted cumin and coriander, sea salt and black pepper, then broiled until just done and easily separated into large flakes (I really like Red Snapper for fish tacos, but that species is still recovering from overfishing).

Fresh prickly pear cactus paddles (nopales) are spined and skinned, then grilled with sea salt and black pepper and finished with a squeeze of fresh lime.

Yellow tomatoes are chopped along with fresh pineapple, sweet red peppers, red onion, jalapeño and cilantro.

All served up in a thick, fresh white corn tortilla..

Fish Tacos with Yellow Tomato-Pineapple Salsa, Grilled Prickly Pear Cactus

For the Salsa

3/4 cup fresh yellow tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup fresh pineapple, diced
2 tablespoons fresh pineapple juice
1/3 cup red onion, diced
2 small, sweet red peppers, thinly sliced
1-2 fresh jalapeño or serrano peppers, minced
1/4 fresh cilantro, torn
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except salt and pepper together in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate 2 hours, stirring occasionally to allow the flavors to combine.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and keep chilled until ready to serve.

“Nopales are very rich in insoluble and especially soluble dietary fiber. They are also rich in vitamins (especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, but also riboflavin and vitamin B6) and minerals (especially magnesium, potassium, and manganese, but also iron and copper).  Nopales have a high calcium content, but the nutrient is not biologically available because it is present as calcium oxalate, which is neither highly soluble nor easily absorbed through the intestinal wall.  Addition of nopales also reduces the glycemic effect of a mixed meal.  Nopales are low carbohydrate and may help in the treatment of diabetes.”  –Wikipedia

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Garlic-brined Heritage Pork Chop with Red Onion-Apple Salsa (special diet)

Kristina from recently reached out to local food bloggers for help in coming up with recipes for the wife of a California gentleman who has been placed on an extremely restrictive diet.

Working from a very short list of allowed ingredients (i.e., chicken or pork but not halibut or tuna,  only 45 grams of carbs/day and no dairy whatsoever), the challenge was to come up with something both highly flavorful and densely nutritional.  Additionally, I wanted the recipe to be both easily sourced and fairly simple to follow..


Garlic-brined Heritage Pork Chop with Red Onion-Apple Salsa


For the Brine

1 oz (by weight) coarse sea salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican if available)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin (freshly toasted and ground if practical)
1/4 teaspoon mesquite liquid smoke (optional)
2 cups filtered water

Place water into a saucepan and heat to a rapid boil.  Remove from heat, add salt and stir until dissolved.  Add remaining ingredients and allow to stand until completely cooled.  Refrigerate until chilled.

For the Chops (allow 1 per person)

8 oz bone-in lean, center cut pork chop (I’m using my favorite Red Wattle chops from Farmhouse Delivery)
chilled brine

Trim chops of most cover fat (diet restriction) and place in a dish or zipper bag along with chilled brine.  If chops are thin, refrigerate 2-3 hours. If thick, refrigerate 3-4 hours.  In either case, turn chops over about halfway through the brining period.  In addition to adding flavor, the brining process will cause the chops to take on as much as 15% water weight, helping to ensure a tender, moist product.

For the Salsa

2/3 cup cored (and optionally peeled) fresh apple, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/3 cup red onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/4 cup fresh tomato, cut into 1/2 inch dice (yellow heirlooms are especially nice)
1/2 small jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, torn
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or 1 teaspoon raw cider vinegar
a pinch of sea salt and black pepper to taste
a pinch of unrefined sugar if needed (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl, cover and refrigerate 2 hours.

To Prepare

Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry on all surfaces (don’t squeeze).  Allow to stand while you prepare the heat source (outdoor grill or indoor grill pan [easiest]).

Sear meat over medium-high heat until well-marked, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Stand chops on end and place in a 400 degree oven until just done (about 10 minutes for thick-cut chops).  If using outdoor grill, stand chops on end away from flames, cover and finish until just done  (the goal is to allow most of the remaining fat to render and drip away [diet restriction]).

Remove chops from heat and allow to stand a full 5 minutes before serving with the crisp and cool apple salsa.

Huevos Rancheros, Salsa de Aji Mirasol Asado

If you’ve never made roasted salsa from scratch before, you owe it to yourself to try it – you just can’t buy anything this good in a store at any price.  This dish is easy and inexpensive enough to feed the whole gang.

Fresh, pastured eggs poached in roasted tomato salsa with fresh tortillas.  Garlic, cumin, Aji Mirasol (this Peruvian chile’s name means looking at the sun), onions and cilantro..

Huevos Rancheros, Salsa de Aji Mirasol Asado

Huevos Rancheros, Salsa de Aji Mirasol Asado

Coarsely chop tomatoes, tomatillos, red & green onions, garlic, jalapeño peppers, cumin and Aji Mirasol chiles.  Season lightly with sea salt and smoked pepper and roast in a 450 degree oven until blistered, about 15 minutes.

Working in batches if necessary, transfer the roasted vegetables to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to a semi-coarse texture.

Pour the salsa into a skillet and simmer over moderate heat until thickened, about 15-20 minutes.

With the back of a large spoon, form a well in the just-bubbling salsa then crack an egg into the well.  You can prepare as many as a dozen eggs at once, depending on the size of your pan and the quantity of salsa that you’ve made.

Cover the pan and cook eggs to your liking, about 3-4 minutes for runny yolks.

Meanwhile, heat fresh tortillas (corn tortillas are traditional for this dish) in a lightly greased comal or skillet.

To serve, nestle an egg inside a tortilla and spoon some of the salsa around the edges.  Dress with a squeeze of lime.

This post is part of the Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet

Roasted, Raw and Fermented: Heirloom Salsa

Ah, the bounty of a Texas summer!

Heirloom Salsa

Heirloom Salsa

This homemade salsa combines the dark smokiness of roasted heirloom tomatoes, garlic, sweet onions and peppers with the fresh taste of raw tomatoes, cilantro and lime.

As good as this is, it is even better if allowed to ferment into a pro-biotic riot of Southwest flavor..

(click to enlarge)

For 1 pint

1 large heirloom tomato, quartered
1 medium Texas 1015 onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic
1-2 jalapeño peppers
1 mild red New Mexico pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 chile chipotle (Dorado or Morita), soaked, toasted and chopped
1 small lime
2 tablespoons whey
fresh cilantro

Roast 3/4 of the tomatoes, 1/2 the onions and all of the garlic and peppers (except the chipotle) on a comal in a 500 degree oven until slightly blackened.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, steep 1 dried chipotle in hot water until soft and pliable.

Split the re-hydrated chipotle open and discard the stem and seeds.  Toast the chipotle with cumin seeds until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Eat within a day or two, or add 2 tablespoons of whey and allow to stand on the counter for 24 hours before transferring to the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.

This post is part of Food Renegade’s excellent Fight Back Fridays