Every now and then, I go through a Mexican phase that lasts about a week. It's all I can think about eating. Does this happen to you?
The Mexican phase I'm in currently has gone on now for no less than three weeks. This is one hell of a bender. I'm going through so much hot sauce that I've decided to make my own. But that's a story for another day.
While living in Nashville during undergrad, one of my favourite places to eat was a local staple called Baja Burrito. Having just booked a flight home with a Nashville reunion on the agenda, I started fantasizing about all the places I want to eat, and this one floated into my top 3 (along with Solario, a fancy Mexican restaurant run by a good friend of mine, and Las Americas Taquería, a very un-fancy Salvadoran pupusería attached to a bodega).
I fondly recall Baja Burrito's seasonal fruit salsas, which are so refreshing and un-ordinary -- wintertime gave us a cranberry salsa, while summer greeted us with a cheery pineapple version. I realised with horror that I am travelling in the winter, and thus, will miss out on the pineapple salsa, by far my favourite of the two. I had to have it - like, now - and we happen to be in the middle of tomato season, so, I made some. They don't use chipotle chilli and I don't claim to know their salsa recipe (oh, if I did!!), but this is darn good in its own right. It's got a great balance of sweet + heat, with smoky chipotle chilli, brown sugar and lime juice in there for good measure. I'm in love.
You know you want to make this now, in the middle of the tomato glut, and give it to people for Christmas. If it lasts that long. I jarred up a bunch of it, and it's seriously cute with hand-written labels. I ended up making this recipe twice because it was so good the first time!
Chipotle-Pineapple Tomato Salsa
adapted from myrecipes.com
1/2 large white onion, small dice
250g (1/2 lb) pineapple, small dice
300g (2/3 lb) tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
120 ml (1/2 cup) pineapple juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chilli (this could get hot -- use your own judgement)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice (about half of one lime)
1/4 teaspoon salt
handful chopped coriander leaves
De-seed and chop tomatoes, set aside.
Sauté onion and pineapple over medium heat until browned - this could take a while, but be patient.
Add tomato and garlic and let go for a minute or two, then add pineapple juice, brown sugar, vinegar and chilli powder. Heat through and let simmer for about 5 minutes - more than this and the tomatoes will start to break down, and you'll be left with an unattractive goopy mess instead of a nice, fresh, chunky salsa.
Remove from heat and stir in coriander, lime juice, and salt. Purée (just a little) with a hand blender, to smooth out the salsa while still leaving plenty of chunks. At this point, I jarred the salsa for later use. Serve chilled or at room temp.
Makes two 300g jars.