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May 2000 Issue
They're not just for chips anymore!
by Ronda L. Halpin
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When you hear the word "salsa" one of the first things that pop to mind are chips. But that's not what this article is about. This month, we're taking a look at how salsas can make fantastic fresh accompaniments to your favorite summer entrees.

As the weather gets warmer and grilling becomes a regular culinary occurrence, freshly-made salsas begin to show their versatility and vitality. Sure, a nicely-marinated grilled chicken breast is lovely, but it becomes a work of art when accompanied by a delightfully crafted garden salsa. Mesquite pork chops become a meal when paired with black bean and corn salsa and Spanish rice.

The trick to pairing fresh salsas with your favorite dinner entree is finding flavors that compliment each other. Tangy tangerines and sweet onions pair beautifully with simple white fish fillets grilled with a teriyaki marinade. A colorful blend of peppers, onions and tomatoes adds a spicy dimension to pepper-rubbed steaks. And, of course, who doesn't recognize the natural alliance between pineapple and ham.

Once you've found a few basic pairs, you're set to experiment. Try making a salsa a little hotter with spicy peppers. See how sweet you can make it with a little extra honey. Think about the wide variety of flavored vinegars available on the market and how they can add extra dimension to your salsas. Imagine how the addition of different fresh herbs will affect the flavor. It all calls for a little creativity and boldness.

To get you started on your salsa adventure, I'm starting you out with six of my favorites and suggestions on how to use them. Just remember that they are suggestions. You can use them with anything you'd like. Yes, even chips!

Enjoy these recipes and be sure to let us know how you like using salsas and your favorite recipes. We'd love to have more great ideas for our kitchens too!
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