Every year, my wife and I throw a Christmas extravaganza for 50 of our closest friends. We used to make them dinner: tortilla soup, tamales, beans, rice, and everything that goes along with that. But, now, with the hustle-and-bustle of the holidays and preparing to leave the country (we spend New Years in Costa Rica)…ain’t nobody got time fo’ that! So, the last few years we’ve kept it simple and hired a local restaurant to come and make “street tacos”. They’re absolutely delicious! I promise, nobody misses our cooking.
My wife dubbed this year’s Christmas party “Margaritas Under the Mistletoe” and, along with the “street tacos”, we had a Margarita Bar and Chips & Salsa Bar. We had four different kinds of margaritas: original lemon-lime from the Mexico Café, our favorite local Mexican restaurant; another lemon-lime that my friend, Brian (bartender extraordinaire), made; and a pomegranate and a strawberry, that I made. As you can image, the bar was a HUGE hit! (I may, or may not, be drinking a margarita as I write this blog post. Don’t judge me.) The Chips and Salsa Bar was just as popular. Guests brought their favorite salsas to share and I made my famous Loaded Guacamole and Southwest Salsa. Ok. You got me. My salsa may not actually be “famous” in the literal sense of the word, but it’s really, REALLY good. I promise. My guacamole on the other hand, well now, that’s ACTUALLY famous. Ha!
My buddy, Daniel, helped me photograph this recipe the day of the Christmas party. I knew I wanted it to be a blog post and thought I’d kill two birds with one stone by doing the photo shoot and party prep at the same time. Good idea, right? Wrong! It was a terrible idea. My home was a madhouse. Family had just come into town and had stopped by for a visit, we were packing for our trip, getting ready for Christmas, cleaning the house, and making last minute preparations for our party. Phew. I’m stressed out just thinking about it again. All of that said, we got it done…and I’m super excited to share this with you.
This recipe will serve a LOT of people! Or, one or two REALLY hungry people. Seriously, though, you’re going to end up with a ton of salsa. You can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days; and, besides enjoying it with tortilla chips, I’d recommend putting it in quesadillas and burritos or on top of grilled salmon and chicken. Trust me. You won’t regret it.This Southwest Salsa is packed full of black beans, corn, and bell peppers. I love bell peppers! They cut through the spice of the hot sauce and jalapeño in this recipe and give it an ever-so-slight sweetness that is simply delicious. Alright! Let’s get started.
The first thing we’re going to do is prep our ingredients. Separately place the contents of the canned corn and canned black beans in a colander and rinse until the water runs clear. Dice the onions and bell peppers, chop the cilantro, and mince the jalapeño and garlic. For depth of flavor and contrast of color, I’m using red, brown, and white onions; and red, yellow, and orange bell peppers. Each serve their purpose. I’d avoid using green bell peppers as they can be pretty bitter.
Once your ingredients are prepped, combine the black beans, corn, onions, and bell peppers and lightly toss. Now, add the jalapeño, cilantro, and garlic and toss until the ingredients (and colors!) are evenly distributed.Add the juice of a lemon and a lime and sprinkle with salt and pepper. As with the Loaded Guacamole, I’d say this is where most people go wrong when making salsa at home. Citrus and salt are ESSENTIAL. For now, add only what the recipe calls for. We’ll do a little taste testing at the end to see if we need some more of these oh-so-important ingredients.
Lastly, add a few dashes of Tapatío Hot Sauce (or whatever your favorite hot sauce happens to be) and a pinch of ground cumin. Oh, and don’t forget to TASTE, TASTE, TASTE!!! Get a chip and sample what you’ve just made. What does it need? It’s likely that you’ll want to add some more citrus, salt, pepper, or hot sauce. Whatever it is that your tastebuds are telling you…LISTEN! You’ll be glad you did. *Daniel was working on his motorcycle before he came over for this shoot. He apologizes for his dirty fingernails (pictured above). Additionally, Daniel would like to recommend that you use Lizano Hot Sauce instead of Tapatío Hot Sauce. Because Lizano is not typically available in The States, Daniel stocks up on our annual trips to Central America. If you can’t find any, it’s because he bought every last bottle on our recent trip to Costa Rica. Jerk!
1 8-ounce can yellow corn, drained and rinsed
1 8-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup brown onion, diced
1/2 cup white onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeño, minced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juice
3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Tapatío (or your favorite) Hot Sauce
Pinch of ground cumin (optional)