Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mushroom Salsa

Yes, MUSHROOM salsa....

I know, I know, I know, you've tried millions of salsas: tomato, fruit, bean, corn, squash, blah, blah and blah...

This one will surprise you, I promise.   

When I was asked to demo something fresh at the very last Farmer's Market in December, the only things available were: Winter Squash, kale, onions, crafts, and Hazel Dell Mushrooms.  So, I decided to whip up a simple mushroom salsa/relish that had been served to me at one of our local mexican food restaurants.  

Initially, I thought this quick recipe would be an easy way to pass the saturday chatting with market friends and doing some winter shopping myself.... it was after all, a salsa. 

Salsa...(eyes glaze over).


I worried slightly if it would be a bit of a push to get people to try a raw mushroom salsa. However,  once I answered the "Mushroom Salsa??" question, I had a difficult time keeping up with the demand for samples! I am pretty sure I had a few market shoppers filling up their aluminum drink bottles with salsa when I was not looking.  Hands down, this was the most popular recipe I've ever offered!

It's THAT good, I swear!

 Besides, with all the Super Bowl recipes going around that will most likely to put an end to your New Year's resolution ( and you've really worked hard this year! ).  Why not bring something unusual, tasty, and inexpensive? This unique salsa will actually have more people asking YOU for your recipe, then praising your friend for her Buffalo Chicken dip concoction.  ( Sorry, I am a wee bit competitive...)

Please keep in mind this is a suggested recipe and I have a few notes I'd like you to consider.
 1.  Any mushroom will do, so it's find to use the inexpensive "white" ones.  I also find great deals on mushrooms at the local asian markets.
 2. This salsa benefits from a high lime/vinegar ratio.  Mushrooms are "earthy" and somewhat of a  blank canvas, therefore an acid such as lime and/or a mild vinegar, pulls this recipe together.
3. This salsa is best when fresh.  I allow it to sit for about an hour or so and it's ready.  The mushrooms begin to darken after a few hours, and will turn dark gray in a day, so plan accordingly.
4.  I use a small amount of red onion in this dish because, without the acid of tomato, the onions will overpower the salsa. If onions are too strong, rinse them under cold water to lessen their bite.
5. For my friends on a special diet, I serve this salsa with peeled and sliced Jicama or sliced Chayote
6.  I sometimes add a little olive oil, but it's because I think a tiny bit of fat balances out the flavor, but I've added water when I could not add olive oil... the water dilutes the acid, and helps the mushrooms marinate.  Your choice, water or olive oil
7.  there's no garlic... for some reason, it does not need it, but feel free to add a few pinches of cumin.  It is a little "fresher" tasting, without it. The carrot is for a tiny bit of sweetness and it adds color.

                                                 Mushroom Salsa

1  8 oz.  Button mushrooms, cleaned, chopped by hand
1-2 Jalapenos, diced (leave the seeds for hotter salsa)
1/4 small red onion, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 small carrot, peeled, grated
Juice of 1-2 limes (or 1 lime and 1-2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar)
salt & pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil or Water (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cumin (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, sprinkle w/ Kosher salt and Pepper. Allow mixture to rest for 30 minutes. Taste and season more if needed, it should have a pronounced lime taste and salt should balance out the flavors.

Play with this recipe and let me know what you think.


Chef Deb

P.S.  To all my local readers:

We are still doing cooking classes each month at Mountain High Appliance and they are still in $20-$25 range. 

My next Demo is Feb. 7, 2012,  :

Casseroles and Comfort Foods:
  King Ranch Chicken Casserole,  Ham and Leek Pie, Pinto Bean and Sweet Potato Chili, Stuffed Polenta w/Classic Bolognese,  Perfect Potato Gratin, Sticky Toffee Pudding w/Bourbon Whipped Cream

Contact Barbara at Mountain High Appliance : 303.665.6850
Email: barbara@mountainhighappliance.com

In Denver I will be at The Seasoned Chef on Feb. 5, 2012

Deb Traylor
Sunday, February 5
1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Fee: $55
Who doesn’t love donuts? Join Chef Deb and prepare these mouth-watering confections: Basic Yeast Donuts: Baked and Fried; Cake Donuts: Baked and Fried; Apple Cider Donuts with Cinnamon Glaze; Pumpkin Donuts with Cream Cheese Glaze; Blueberry Cake Donuts with Lemon Glaze; Bomboloni's: Italian Donuts with Rich Chocolate Sauce.
Contact: Mary at The Seasoned Chef