I work with a Columbian woman named Claudia. Every couple of months she treats the department to some delicious, savory, light and golden Columbian empanadas (btw that blog is awesome) with some crazy yummilicious salsa. Salsa in spanish simply means sauce. I want you to leave all notions of what “salsa” is suppose to be right now. Go on. Leave it.
Lots of countries have salsas. Some use green tomatoes, red tomatoes, onions, mangoes, peppers, apples, fresh oregano, or cilantro. Claudia’s salsa was made to accompany her delicious empanadas and so it compliments and highlights things for her empanadas. For quite some years I’ve attempted to recreate her delicious sauce to no avail. Well today I made something like Claudia’s salsa but with a distinct Zoila twist.
The only cooking required is the Arbol-Ancho Chili Paste (recipe is coming up).
1/2 a medium sized yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 sprigs of cilantro, finely chopped
1 large ripe tomato, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of Arbol-Ancho Chili Paste (this is very spicy, use with caution)
1 tablespoon ketchup
5 generous dashes of white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 table spoon of mirin
salt to taste
Put all of the ingredients in a jar, stir and let it sit unrefrigerated for an hour. The vinegar and salt will draw out lots of liquid from the ingredients. Serve cold or room temperature with your favorite fried goodies (empandas, chicharon, pastelitos, alcapurrias, tostones, etc)
The two secret ingredients to this yummy salsa is the complex sweetness of the mirin to offset the acidity of the white wine vinegar and tomatoes and TIME. I know mirin is pretty random to find in a typically Hispanic dish, but I love using it to add a little somethingsomething to a dish. And you need time to break down the veggies and release water, or else you’re going to have a salad NOT a salsa.
I served this over oven crisped tortillas and chicken and broiled with cheese. I hope you guys like it!