Tangerine Salsa

I love buying and reading cookbooks.  Recently, I finally had to buckle down and get rid of those I don’t use anymore.  That’s harder for me than cleaning out my closet, but it was either that or quit buying cookbooks…not an option!

With so much more room on the shelves now, it was easy for me to justify buying “Morton’s The Cookbook”, while out shopping with Mom this past week. It’s a collection of recipes from the restaurant,  Morton’s The Steakhouse.  What I love about the book is, not only does it contain some fabulous steak recipes, but also a great collection of seafood dishes and desserts with beautiful photos accompanying each recipe.   Obviously, ALL of them are “entertainment worthy”. 🙂

If the first thing I tried is any indication of the quality of the remaining recipes, I just might have to cook my way through this book.  The photo of the Grilled Northwest Halibut with Tangerine Salsa was mouth-watering.    I substituted the Halibut for Salmon which I had set out to cook, and topped it with the Tangerine Salsa.  One of the perks of Springtime are honey tangerines.  I was able to get my hand on some (Central Market, for those of you local) and, boy were they delicious!

Seared Salmon with Tangerine Salsa

Tangerine Salsa

Slightly adapted from “Morton’s The Cookbook”

Printable Recipe


  • 6 tangerines
  • 1 serrano chile, minced (about 1/4 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots (about 4)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro


Over a small nonreactive saucepan, juice 4 of the tangerines.  Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for 6-8 minutes or until it’s reduced by half and the flavors are concentrated. Set aside to cool.

Section the remaining 2 tangerines (see previous post for step-by-step instructions) into a medium-sized bowl, letting extra juices fall into bowl. Add cooled, reduced tangerine syrup, along with serrano, red pepper, shallots, lime juice, olive oil, parsley and cilantro.  Mix well.

Liz’s Cooking Tidbit: Chop, dice, mince…what’s the difference?

Chop-cutting food into bite-size pieces. Used for ingredients that are intended to retain their character.

Dice-cutting food into small even pieces, usually 1/4 to 1/8 inch

Mince-cutting food to 1/8 of an inch or less in size. Usually used for herbs or garnishes.

Read more: Dice Versus Chop and Mince | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5814472_dice-versus-chop-mince.html#ixzz1IO1LH53e


Tangerine-Ginger Salsa

I love tangerines, so when I saw this salsa on “America’s Test Kitchen“, I had a feeling it would be great over fish.  Actually, it would be great over chicken, too, but this time, I served it over roasted salmon.  Since the recipe calls for segmenting (see previous post) and draining the tangerines 15-20 minutes, I like to do that first before preparing the fish.  I happened to have a ripe avocado on hand that needed to be used, so I diced it up and added that, as well.  This is a light and healthy meal, great for quick weeknight dinners, but also pretty enough for entertaining! Bon Apetit!

Roasted Salmon with Tangerine-Ginger Salsa

Tangerine-Ginger Salsa

Printable Recipe


  • 4 tangerines, peeled and segmented (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon tangerine juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a microplaner
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 scallion, sliced thinly
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • diced avocado (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste


Peel and segment tangerines (see note).  Chop them into 1/2 inch pieces and let drain in a colander placed over a bowl for about 15-20 minutes, reserving the juice for the vinaigrette.  Once drained, in separate bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the reserved tangerine juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, crushed red pepper (if using) and 2 teaspoons olive oil.  Whisk together and season with salt & pepper.  Add sliced scallion, tangerine segments and avocado (if using) and stir.  Serve over fish or chicken.

Note–How to Segment a Tangerine:

Begin by placing it on a cutting board. Slice the top and bottom of the fruit to expose its juicy interior. This provides stability; it should be able to rest firmly without rolling.  Beginning at the top, slice off the skin and pith in strips, using the natural curve of the fruit as your guide. Continue working your way around the fruit. Once all of the skin is gone, it’s time to remove the segments of the fruit. Hold the tangerine firmly in your hand over a bowl to catch any juice, and gently slide your knife between the membrane walls toward the center of the fruit to release the segments. Loosen each segment, remove it from the fruit and set it aside.

Escolar Topped with Tomato-Mint-Basil Salsa

On a recent trip to my new favorite spot, “Groomer Seafood“, I purchased some Escolar, sometimes known as “Butter Fish”.  While I’d heard of Escolar before, I’d never tasted it and decided to give it a try.  I’d heard it was very similar to Chilean Sea Bass both in texture and taste but with a much more appealing price tag!  Once home, I decided to pan roast it… (brush with olive oil, season & sear in non-stick, oven-proof skillet on medium-high heat 3-4 minutes until nice crust is formed.  Carefully flip the fish & pop the skillet into a preheated 450° oven for another 6-7 minutes).  The fish was succulent, rich & buttery and utterly delicious.  I topped it with a Tomato-Mint-Basil Salsa that was the perfect accompaniment!
Do be warned, however, that because of its high oil content, Escolar has a reputation for causing, let’s say, intestinal distress if eaten in larger portions than about 6 ounces. Enjoy in moderation!

Escolar topped with Tomato-Mint-Basil Salsa

Tomato-Mint-Basil Salsa

adapted from The Cook’s Bible-The Best of American Home Cooking

Makes about 3 cups
  • 2 cups diced fresh, ripe tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup high quality olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least an hour (preferably 2) before serving.

Note: This salsa is only as good as the tomato that is used…best with those ripe summer heirlooms!  Letting the salsa sit at room temperature to develop flavor is a MUST!  I left mine alone for about 2 hours.  This is great on top of ANY fish!

Fresh Garden Tomatoes Meet Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Recently, daughter, Alexis, asked me to keep an eye out for some good pork tenderloin recipes that she could add to her repertoire.  Since I had two tenderloins I wanted to cook today, I figured I’d set out to give her something new.  After a brief trip to the garden this morning, Hubby brought in a whole bowl full of tomatoes, so I definitely wanted a recipe to showcase those beautiful little red babies!  Fellow blogger, Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen, had baked a pork tenderloin and served it with a grilled tomato salsa.  During the summer months, I will always opt for the grill as opposed to the oven, so I made a few changes to the recipe, spiced it up a bit, and Wow!  Is IT A KEEPER!!!!!   Alexis and Chris, I think you’ll like it!  🙂

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Warm Grilled Tomato & Pepper Salsa

Servings: Serves 6-8

Grilled Tomato Salsa recipe adapted from New American Table Cookbook.

Printable Recipe


2 pork tenderloins

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

For the Salsa

6 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

2-3 serrano peppers, or to taste

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons mint, chopped

2 tablespoons basil, chopped

2 green onions, thinly sliced


For the pork
Preheat gas grill on high 10 minutes, and Trim the silver skin from your tenderloin.  Next, mix the mustard and honey together, and smear it all over the pork, covering all sides.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sear the meat over direct heat on the grill about 3 min on each side, then turn the heat down to low and continue cooking 6-7 minutes or until the center reaches about 150F.  Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing, and serve with the Grilled Tomato & Pepper Salsa.

For the Grilled Tomato & Pepper Salsa
Heat a grill pan over high heat.  Toss the tomatoes and peppers with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Place on grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and let cool.  Chop the tomatoes and peppers, combine with lemon juice, vinegar, cumin, salt, pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl. Fold in the basil, mint and green onions.

Spicy Grilled Chicken with Watermelon/Mango Salsa

Sometimes when I least expect it, I’ll fix a dish that makes me take notice and say “WOW!”  Such was the case the other night.  I had laid some boneless chicken breasts out to thaw, and didn’t really know what I was going to do with them.  A quick look in my pantry for some inspiration led me to a hostess gift my friend, Cathy, gave me a while back. You need to understand this was no usual hostess gift.  More like a conversation piece!  It’s a spice rub by the name of “Aw Shit” from the “Big Cock Ranch”, claiming to be a “specially blended seasoning for those who want to put a little zip in their doo-da”. Well, HELLLOOOOOO!  Who DOESN’T want to put a little ZIP in their DOO-DA?  Just for the record, you locals can purchase “Aw Shit”, along with “Hot Shit”, “Special Shit” and “Good Shit” from Cathy’s new gift store, “Giorgios” which is opening soon!  I highly recommend this shit!

Next, I figured I’d need a little something to top the chicken to cool down the taste buds.  I had both mangoes and watermelon sitting on my counter, so I thought I’d give them a try together in a salsa.  I diced them up, added a little cilantro, red onion, a few serrano peppers, and a squeeze of lime, and MAN, LET ME TELL YOU, there was definitely some ZIP going on in our DOO-DAs!  This was one of the BEST salsas I’ve ever eaten, and it was fantastic paired with the spicy grilled chicken!

Of course, as we all sat down to dinner that evening, my 13 year old (self-proclaimed comedian son) takes one bite and declares “MOM, This SHIT is REEAALLY good”!  That was quickly followed by “You can’t ground me! That’s the name of it”!  Don’t you just LOVE teenagers?

Spicy Grilled Chicken with Watermelon/Mango Salsa

Watermelon/Mango Salsa

Printable Recipe


2 mangoes, peeled and diced
2 Cups diced watermelon
1-2 serrano peppers, diced (optional)
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 Cup cilantro, chopped
Squeeze of lime
1/2 Teaspoon sugar (only if needed for sweetness)

Liz’s notes:
1. Make sure your mango and watermelon are at their peak and full of flavor for best results.
2. My family likes things “Spicy”, so I use serrano peppers.  Jalapeno peppers would be a little milder, or you can leave them out completely.

Grilled Steelhead Trout w/Mango Salsa

Ever since I returned from Ottley’s Plantation on the island of St. Kitts, I’ve had a fondness for mangoes.  Mango trees were everywhere on their beautiful grounds, and you literally had to watch where you stepped for fear of stepping on fallen mangoes!   You can’t get much fresher than that!

Ottley's Plantation-St. Kitts

Fresh Mangoes at Ottley's Plantation

Sometimes we don’t have a lot of time to prepare dinner, but that doesn’t mean we need to resort to junk food or that dreadful “drive-thru”!  As long as you keep a well-stocked fridge with those items in season, you should be able to throw something together in a short amount of time.  During the summer months, I try to always have fresh ginger, lots of fruit and especially mangoes on hand.  Ginger really packs a huge punch of flavor, and while mangoes are great to eat with just a squeeze of lime, I especially like to keep them around for preparing salsas.  One of my favorite quick meals is grilled fish with a fruit salsa.  I can send Hubby out to the grill, and by the time the fish is done, I can have a fresh salsa prepared.  Put that with a simple green salad and a glass of wine, and dinner is on the table!

Grilled Steelhead Trout w/Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa

Printable Recipe


  • 2 mangoes, peeled & diced
  • 2 Tablespoons ginger, peeled & minced
  • 3-4 strawberries, diced
  • 1 kiwi, peeled & diced
  • 1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1-2 serrano peppers, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Gently mix all ingredients in bowl and let flavors marry for about 30 minutes before serving.

***Note:  Depending on the heat of your serrano peppers, use more or less to your liking.  Also, this recipe is VERY flexible!  The strawberries add some nice red color, but sometimes if I don’t have them, I’ll use diced red bell pepper.

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