The Sweet, The Sour and The Savoury [Charred Jalapeño, Kiwi & Cucumber Salsa]
Last week I bought 3 kiwis on a whim. I don’t typically buy kiwis. They sort of freak me out for some reason – all weird and fuzzy and electric green inside. It seems almost unnatural, though I realize it’s in it’s most natural form. I bought them with the intention of cutting them in half and spooning out their soft, seedy flesh with a serrated edged spoon, like I did when I used to eat them as a child, but once I was home and had all the groceries unpacked, my longing for a kiwi faded and there they sat, unloved and untouched.
Fast forward a few days to a lunch date with my friend Steph at The Red Apron (pre-made dinners! Incredible coffee and sweet treats! Heat wave happy-maker!). She mentioned a friend of hers visiting from out of town made something called “kiwi nachos” with a kiwi/pomegranate/avocado salsa on top. Curiosity – piqued! I went home with kiwi salsa on the brain and decided to get busy with my new-found fuzzy friends and some jalapenos that looked like they had been sunbathing for just a little too long (mind you, anything that sits out in this 40 degree weather spoils before too long so we’ve been filling our guts with as much produce as we can before it does). One of my favourite things about cooking is finding that perfect balance between the sweets, the sours and the savouries. Adding a bit of this, tasting, a bit of that, tasting some more and finding that just-right flavour (which tends to lean a little more to the tart side for my personal taste).
This salsa is the perfect example of balancing flavours. The sweet and slightly tart kiwi mixed with mild, bitter charred jalapenos, creamy avocado and sweet, cooling cucumber combine for the perfect bite that tickles every taste bud on the tongue. It’s the kind of salsa that puckers your cheeks on the first bite, but mellows out as you bite into all the other little surprises in there. I ate it on it’s own with some salty toasted pita chips, but it would be equally delicious over white fish or chicken, on top of tacos (pork especially), on nachos (with a mild queso fresco), or just about anywhere else you need a bright kick of flavour. I hope you enjoy - it’s just the thing for all this hot, spicy weather we’re having.
Charred Jalapeño, Kiwi & Cucumber Salsa
makes approx. 1 1/2 cups
4 small (2 large) jalapeños
2 large kiwi, peeled and diced
2 baby cucumbers, diced
1/2 large avocado, diced
3 green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, rough chopped
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp salt (+/- depending on taste)
Turn your oven on to broil. Cut the jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and veins (that’s where all the heat lives). Place them cut-side-down on a sheet of tin foil or a baking sheet and broil for 3-4 minutes or until skins are blackened and blistered. Place them in a paper bag for 5 minutes. This helps steam the peppers and makes peeling the charred skin easier. Peel the skin and dice the peppers.
In a large bowl, add the roasted jalapenos and the rest of the ingredients. Taste and adjust salt and lime juice to taste.