Monday, July 23, 2012

Strawberry Cucumber Salsa with Chili, Thai Basil and Lime

This summer, Tom and I were lucky enough to vacation on a remote part of Martha’s Vineyard with my sister and her husband.  I've been planning this trip for most of my life, since I've always wanted to stay there. It seemed like a distant, dream-like place of golden-amber light and emerald-blue water. It was everything I imagined it to be.

Our little beagle-mix, Ellie, came with us to this magical island of soaring cliffs, sea and sky.
We rode bikes, took long walks, visited lighthouses, collected scallop shells, sat on lonely beaches with crabs and sea birds as our only companions and soaked up the untouched beauty of this unique place.

For dinner, we visited the local fish market to find the catch of the day.  I’d hunt around the tiny general store for fresh produce. A few cartons of farm fresh strawberries, garden cucumbers, Thai basil, fiery green chili peppers were always available. They also had the sweetest, sweet-corn and delicious just-baked peach pies. I've never tasted corn that good. We ate well there.

I served this light salsa over grilled sea bass. Cool cucumbers and sweet strawberries balance the fiery chili. A flurry of fragrant Thai basil and zesty lime juice lend a bright and sassy finish. The meal on Martha's Vineyard will always be remembered as one of the freshest I've had in my life. 

Strawberry Cucumber Salsa Recipe

Some Notes: Even in winter, I make fresh salsas. I know I should always cook/eat seasonally, but sometimes it's good to break the rules. I may need to add a bit more honey, but that's okay with me.

You can use regular cucumbers, a couple of small cucumbers or Persian seedless cucumbers in this recipe. I love Persian cucumbers. If you can find them, grab them. If using Persian cucumbers, you don't have to peel or seed them.

If you can't find a jalapeno, a fiery green Thai bird chili pepper would be delicious here too. Be careful, Thai peppers are very spicy! I'm in love with their unique, chili flavor and subtle tropical notes. I always have Thai peppers in my fridge. I find them in my regular supermarket or at Asian supermarkets.  

You’ll Need:

  • 16 oz of strawberries, 
  • 1-2 medium to large cucumber peeled, seeds removed and diced or use a few mini Persian cucumbers. (see notes)
  • 1 jalapeno chili pepper or a Thai chili pepper, minced. Leave out the seeds and veins if you want it to be less spicy.   
  • 1 lime, zest half of it and reserve. 
  • Drizzle of honey 
  • Handful of Thai basil, chopped or torn. Fresh garden mint would be great too.
  • Drizzle of light olive oil or other neutral tasting oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • A diced creamy, ripe avocado would be delicious tossed into it too!

The Rundown:
Place the strawberries, cucumbers and chili pepper in a bowl.  Add the honey, oil, lime zest and a couple of good squeezes of lime juice. Add the salt and toss to combine. Taste. Adjust salt. Stir in the basil. Serve immediately with fish, chicken, shrimp, scallops or tortilla chips. Enjoy!  

Love salsa? Try My Addictive, Smoky-Sweet and Spicy Black Bean & Corn Salsa with Easy Cheesy Quesadillas

Love Chili? Try my Light & Crispy Mexican Corn and Black Bean Fritters with Chili, Lime & Lite Sour 
Cream: Gluten-free or not, your choice.  

Looking for more sweet and spicy treats? Try my Chili Chocolate Truffles or my Coconut Milk Whipped Cream:


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