Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We Want Food - Olive salsa (What's not to love?)

Whenever we fly, Daniel and I overdose on magazines. In spite of the facts that we subscribe to about a thousand mags, that I always come armed with several books, and that we usually fly JetBlue or Virgin America, which have televisions, we live in fear of running out of distractions for the long flight(s) ahead. Where Daniel goes straight for Entertainment Weekly, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated, I make a beeline to the cooking section, and stock up on Saveur, Food and Wine, Gourmet, and Bon Apetit.

Our recent trek to Saint Louis was no exception, and given the inhuman number of stops on our return trip after the wedding of Melissa and Chris, these diversions were essential.

The July edition of Food and Wine had a whole section on salsas, and since I live with a great lover of salsas, I took note. When it came time to try my hand at one of the chunky sauces, however, I decided to broaden said salsa-lover's horizons, and skipped the tomato salsa with smoked cheese and the avocado and roasted tomatillo offering, and went for the exotic sounding minty green olive celery salsa. Involving capers, mint, garlic, and of course olives and celery, it tempted me with its briny savoriness.

With so much flavor to the salsa itself, I decided to pair it with a straightforward broiled flounder and to serve it with oven baked sweet potato fries (with the requisite homemade spicy ketchup) and a simple California green market salad of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, and balsamic. I assembled the ingredients, and got going.

However, when I reached into my crisper, despite the entirely different look and smell and very essence of the two herbs, I pulled out my fresh basil instead of the fresh mint somehow not realizing my mistake until the deed was done. And so what emerged was a basil green olive salsa instead of a minty one. To make up for the error, I added some hot pepper flakes, threw it on the fish, and hoped for the best.

The result was very good- crunchy, savory, and pretty complex. Next time I'll try the minty version, but the spicy basil flavor ended up quite nice. Here's the recipe, based on the one from Food and Wine...

Spicy Basil Green Olive and Celery Salsa

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 cup finely diced celery (3 ribs)
1 cup finely chopped pitted green olives (5 ounces)
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper
Red pepper flakes to taste

-In a small skillet, heat the oil.
-Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Let the oil cool, then discard the garlic.
-Transfer the oil to a bowl and add the celery, olives, capers and basil.
-Toss the salsa, season with pepper and red pepper flakes and serve.

Here's a quick pic of the side dishes.

No comments: