Salsa, which is just a fancy word for sauce (or, in fact, is the word for sauce in Spain and Italy) is a brilliant weapon for your weekly culinary arsenal. It’s fast and flexible (if you don’t have a bit of this, add a bit of that instead) and it can transform the most basic of starches and proteins with just a deft bit of chopping. This is one of my favourites. It’s from a book called Leith’s Latin American Cookery, written by Valeria V. Sisti and, although I sometimes make it as an accompaniment for grilled lamb or chicken, often on a hot evening I just make a big bowl of it and eat it with toasted pitta bread. It’s great for parties because you can just increase the amounts and, if you have leftovers, eat them for lunch the next day. In terms of ingredients, the recipe uses groundnut oil which I never have so I use sunflower (basically anything which doesn’t have too strong a flavour since it will be wiped out by the chilli) and you’re supposed to seed the tomatoes but I don’t bother.
Avocado and pepper salsa (adapted from Leith’s Latin American Cookery)
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
5 tbsp plain-flavoured oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp hot chilli powder
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 small tomatoes, washed and chopped up into small cubes
2 avocados, peeled and cut into small cubes
½ yellow pepper, washed, seeded and cut into cubes
½ red pepper, washed, seeded and cut into cubes
1 tbsp spring onion, chopped (wash, top and tail it, take off any papery layers then chop)
2 tbsp fresh coriander, washed and chopped (I use kitchen scissors to cut it up)
Hot chilli sauce (like Tabasco)
Whatever you’re having with it; in my case, pitta breads
1. Juice the lime then make the dressing by combining it with the oil, vinegar and chilli powder in a large bowl.
2. Add the tomatoes, avocados, peppers and spring onions, mix thoroughly, stir in the coriander and season to taste with hot chilli sauce, salt and pepper. If you leave it for a little while before eating, the flavour will improve.