SUNDRIED TOMATO SALSA

Sundried Tomato Salsa.

I once went to Mexico (Playa del Carmen, to be exact) and stayed in a fabulously luxurious hotel with a friend of mine who always gives me the most opulent holiday experiences. Lucky for me, he works for an upmarket flight service therefore the perks of going on holiday with him are wildly exciting with bountiful memories. None more bountiful than those of the food, that I hold near and dear to me. He’s always on a diet of fast food so I always find myself screaming from the balcony about the wonders of the cuisines by myself but that’s the price I pay.

The hotel we stayed in, matter of fact, was one of the hotels that famously scary Spice Girl Mel B had stayed in while she was a judge during her X Factor season – and in all fairness, the hotel was equally as beautiful as those lingering pan shots made it out to be. However, we went during a relatively quiet season and as we were flying as part of some kind of VIP package that was part of the flight service staff perks, we had an entire pool to ourselves. I was certainly in my oils.

Casually drop in the VIP package there. You either read that as casual boasting or just detailed blogging. I’ll let you decide.

Either way, what I truly enjoyed was the snack bar. I mean, obviously. I’ll slip in here that it was indeed a private pool and a private chef, just because I can. The chef would come to our pool area every day and rustle us some delicious Mexican snacks with all the trimmings to go with it. This recipe is the salsa dip he would serve us. I lie, it’s actually a version I conjured up in my own mind due to the chef not telling me how he made it despite my nagging.

I tried to be sneaky and I had chat with Nadia, the beautiful waitress who served us all week who was working over the Christmas period, bless her heart. She told me the foundation of how the salsa was made but then would not tell me anything other than there was a mix of two tomatoes. Two tomatoes. It was a good place to start.

The salsa had a really strong tomato flavour with a lot of depth and heat. I asked if it was the addition of a paste of puree and Nadia laughed at me. I kept guessing until I gave up hoping she would slip me a napkin with the recipe written on it. She slipped me as receipt and kept walking.

Alas, I left Mexico with a banging tan and no recipe, so this was my way of trying to recreate it.

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In a food processor add some roughly chopped spring onions. Follow this with a roughly chopped tomato followed by a few fat sundried tomatoes from a jar. Add just over half a tablespoon of the sundried tomato oil from the jar before adding the juice of half a lime and the zest of half. Add a clove of garlic along with a roughly chopped chili and generous sprinkle of smoked sea salt. Or any sea salt, let’s be honest.

Finally, add some fresh coriander before pressing the button and allowing everything to blitz together to a darky satisfying chunky salsa. You can go either way, if you want a finer salsa (like that found in jars) add a tiny sprinkle of cold water and keep the processor blitzing for longer but if you like it chunky – like I do – just blitz it for a few seconds at a time, checking for consistency as you go.

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Apologies to anybody at that hotel if you are reading this through your fingers and recoiling at my recreation. Please see this as a salute to your recipe as opposed to a snatching of it. And if it’s all wrong, so very wrong, please just know it is still very delicious and comes quite close to what you serve.

Failing that, blame Nadia and her delightful cackle for not giving me the recipe.

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