Staying seasonal can be limiting when it comes to some of our favorite foods. For example, in the Summer I love to make batches of fresh salsa using sun soaked tomatoes and balcony-grown peppers, but these mason jars of Summer salsa seem to be devoured in a matter of seconds. They never last longer than the tomato season itself and I always end up facing the colder months destined to remain salsa-less.
But necessity, or gluttony in my case, does in fact give birth to invention and I decided that, instead of buying airport-food quality tomatoes from God knows where during the off season, I would attmpt to make seasonal salsas using what I could find at local markets.
My first attempt in this venture resulted in Fallsa
, a blend of end-of-the-season green tomatoes and hearty helpings of cilantro. Fallsa was a fairly simple compromise between the end of Summer and the beginning of the Fall- that lovely autumnal area when the sun still lingers and therefore so do the courgettes, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
The Winter months make seasonal salsa a daunting task, with no hope of local tomatoes and the last of my cayenne withering on its weather-beaten plant, I figured I'd just have to forgo homemade salsa until the spring. But then inspiration found me in the form of a panier bio from bio c'bon
Our first bio bag included a lovely little pumpkin that I would've just roasted and made into soup if it hadn't been for those poor cayenne peppers, which would perish if I didn't find an immediate use for them.
Thus the idea for Winter Salsa was born, with pumpkin standing in for my tomatoes I set to put a cold weather spin on a Summer classic.
Below is the recipe, note that I did include canned corn, but otherwise all ingredients can be found fresh and locally (except for the the cayenne if you didn't grow that in advance!)
1 small pumpkin or other squash
- cut the squash in half, remove seeds, and place it, flesh side up, in a oven-safe dish that is 1/3 full of water. Place the squash in an oven preheated to 400° F / 205° C for 35-45 mins (35 if you want a chunk salsa, 45 if you want a creamy one)
1 small can of corn kernels
1 bunch of parsley
1 red onion
1 dried pepper, like cayenne
2-3 cloves of garlic
hot sauce and salt, to taste
1/2 diced cucumber (optional- it adds crunch to a creamy salsa)
Step 1: After letting your squash cool, remove the rough skin and cut the flesh into cubes. If you've let the squash roast for the full 45 minutes, the cubes will become creamy when mixed in with the other ingredients. Under-cooked squash should hold up for a chunky salsa even after the other ingredients are added.
Step 2: Slice and dice up all your other ingredients, throw in the corn kernels and slowly add in the peppers, garlic, hot sauce, and salt. Mix together with a large spoon and adjust to taste.
Step 3: Enjoy!
You can serve this right away with tortilla chips or as an addition to your burritos. Get it while the getting is good- because no matter what the season, salsa never stays around for long!