* written by Samantha Weiss Hills at Food52
This summer, we’re partnering with Jet.com to share recipes that will help you hone nearly every skill in the book. (Jet will have you covered with all the fresh and pantry goods you’ll need. Seriously, they have everything. Use the code Food52 at checkout for 20% off your first 2 orders of $35 or more. Maximum discount $30*.) These past couple months, we’ve shared tips to arm you for easily prep weeknight-friendly meals and picnic (gluten-free!) all summer long. On the docket today: our favorites for a make-ahead salsa meal!
‘Make-ahead’ is music to my ears when I’m planning dinners. It’s the strategy I employ when I’m hosting Passover (usually 10 to 15 people strong), trying to eat at home for a week straight, or getting people together for grilling out (whether that’s with tacos or steaks). While it doesn’t always work—I’m inevitably grabbing something pre-made from somewhere when I’ve forgotten to include its ingredients on a list—it’s usually a dream by the time people show up, with just one or two things needing attention during pre-dinner drinks.
To save you from poking about the Food52 archives, and to put in my own back pocket, I scoured the site for recipes for an outdoor-friendly, salsa menu that can be entirely made ahead of time for a weekend party, some fully prepped, and some that may need bells and whistles right before being served.
You can even plan to make enough so that there’ll be leftovers for a few days, which is a godsend, whether you have kids who need school lunches or just want to feed yourself. (But finish the boozy punch with the adults over the weekend!)
Next Day Grilled Corn, Pineapple, and Peach Salsa
Makes about 3 cups of salsa
A bit of olive oil for grilling the corn
1 ear corn on the cob
1 peach, halved
Three 1/2-inch slices pineapple
3 tablespoons olive oil for the dressing
Juice of 1/2 of a medium-sized lime
1 to 2 tablespoons accumulated pineapple and peach juice
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped Vidalia or sweet onion
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely minced jalapeño pepper
Generous dashes of Cholula
- While you’re already grilling, throw some extra fruits and vegetables on there, too (or fire up the grill for this salsa alone — it’s worth it). Smear the corn cob with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper and place them on the grill, making sure to rotate the cob so you get a nice, even char. Place the pineapple slices and the peach halves (flesh side-down) directly on the grill. Grill the pineapple for about a minute on each side, and grill the peach halves for about a minute. Place the pineapple slices and peach halves in a sealable container and refrigerate overnight. Place the corn in the refrigerator as well. (You can also make this salsa right away.)
- The next day, slice the corn off the cob and add to a medium-sized bowl. Chop the pineapple slices, removing the core, and peel and chop the peach halves. Reserve the juices and add the chopped fruit to the bowl with the corn.
- Make a dressing by combining the olive oil, lime juice, the juice accumulated from the pineapple and peach, and salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
- Add all the remaining chopped ingredients to the bowl, and then add the dressing and mix well. Add dashes of Cholula to your taste (I have managed to slowly increase the heat in my salsas in my household!).
- Serve alongside grilled fish, chicken, and pork chops. This salsa also works well as a stand-alone side dish.
Cooked Green Salsa Verde
Makes about 2 cups
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, or to taste
1/3 cup coarsely chopped white onion
1 cup cilantro leaves and top part of stems
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Place the tomatillos, garlic, and chiles in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatillos change from bright green to pale green and are soft but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatillos, garlic, and one of the chiles to a blender or food processor. Add the onion, cilantro, and salt and purée until smooth. Taste for heat, and add more chile if necessary until you have the desired amount of heat.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Pour the salsa into the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
Mexican Grandma Salsa
Makes about 2 cups
1/2 large white onion, finely diced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 jalapeños
2 to 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 handful cilantro
Squeeze of lime juice
- Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and 1/2 cup hot tap water in a container. Add the onion, cover, and let sit for at least an hour at room temperature.
- Grill the tomatoes, jalapeños, and garlic until blackened on all sides. The jalapeños and garlic will blacken faster than the tomatoes, so keep an eye on them and take them off when they’re done. Set aside to cool.
- When cool enough to handle, peel the blackened skin off the garlic and discard. If you want a less spicy salsa, de-seed the jalapeños.
- Blend the tomatoes, jalapeños, and garlic in a blender with salt and cilantro. Drain the onion and stir your desired amount into the blended tomato mixture. Finish with a squeeze of lime and salt to taste, if needed.
Fresh Cherry Tomato Salsa
Makes 2 1/2 cups
1 large clove garlic, or more to taste
2 green onions, roughly chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded, if desired (leave the seeds and membrane in for more heat)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, to taste, divided
3 to 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Fine sea salt, for seasoning (optional)
- Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add the green onions, jalapeño, and cilantro. Process until finely chopped.
- Add the tomatoes and pulse until the mixture is chunky, or pulse longer if you prefer a smoother salsa.
- Spoon the salsa into a fine-mesh colander placed in the sink. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt on top of the salsa and gently stir to combine. Let the salsa drain in the colander for 30 minutes. Stir it every now and then to help it drain.
- Transfer the salsa to a medium bowl and stir in lime juice, oil, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. This fresh salsa is best enjoyed the same day, but it’ll stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours.
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