There’s no denying the superstars of Super Bowl fare are chicken wings and guacamole. It’s a national fixation that will see record prices for the fowl in 2013 and staggering numbers for pounds of avocados consumed are expected to keep the bar at previous years’ levels. With their versatile array of sauces and glazes ranging from smoking hot to salty-sweet, wings are the palate pleasing chameleon of the table. A nicely spiced guacamole with its alluring color and creamy texture makes mouths swoon up against the salty crunch of a tortilla chip. What’s not to love?
Today I pay respects to the underdog condiment. A dish typically relegated to the sidelines with nary a thought or fanfare beyond unscrewing a vacuum-sealed lid from a jar and dumping its contents into a serving bowl. My spotlight shines on salsa—homemade salsa. I know the drill. We all get busy. When it comes to putting together a party spread, often times the simplest of elements become items of convenience. Friends, I’m here to attest that a handful of fresh ingredients blended up with a can of tomatoes are not only a thing of beauty, it’s quick and easy.
I began making salsa three years ago. It simply happened one day. Whether the stars aligned or the pantry and the refrigerator produce drawer were in cahoots, the first batch came easier than flipping a light switch. I remember the expression of delight on my wife’s face upon first taste. I knew I had a keeper.
Shortly thereafter, another spike of inspiration came when I decided to grow my own chili peppers. My first planting was the habanero pepper, which back then enjoyed the title of the world’s hottest pepper. Interestingly, I had never before tasted a habanero—at least that I knew of. Go big or go home, right? In turn this lead to what is now an annual hobby of growing organic chilies. This past season, I took on the former reigning champ of atomic peppers as of February 2012, by growing the Naga Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper. But that’s another story for another time.
Since the first batch of salsa, our tastes have become accustomed to more fiery renditions. But that original recipe concocted on a whim stands proud on a foundation of full-flavored merit and adaptability.
Watch the recorded video from a live demonstration of Sideline Salsa!
Need another Super Bowl party idea? Try this recipe.