Lately I’ve been trying to remember not to toss away labels and wrappers too quickly. The other day I bought a bunch of organic cilantro and as I was throwing away the tag I happened to see that there was a recipe for cantaloupe salsa printed on it. Lots of foods come with recipes printed on their tags, or on the underside of labels, etc., and I’ve actually found some pretty good ones that way. I had already decided on grilled tilapia for dinner, so the idea of a new kind of salsa to go with it sounded perfect.
We’re heading into salsa season, and I couldn’t be more excited. They’re so easy and they’re so healthy, but the main reason I can’t stop making them is the burst of flavor they add to everything. Not to mention that they give me an excuse to eat the leftovers with chips. I also like making salsas because I get to play with color…do I want to use a red, yellow, or orange pepper with the melon? Purple onion or green? The colors are just as important as the flavors, and they make a plate of healthy but bland fish or chicken a lot more lively.
Cantaloupes are cheap right now, which pretty much tells you they’ll be ripe and delicious, but I think lots of different melons would work here, so experiment with what you see at your market. There’s nothing more cooling than a sweet juicy melon. Nothing more fiery hot than a habanero pepper. Put the two together and you’ve got a really interesting salsa. It takes only minutes to put together, try it!
Inspired by the cilantro label, here’s my interpretation of a great melon salsa—
Cantaloupe Habanero Salsa
1/2 ripe cantaloupe melon, sliced and cut into a small dice
1/2 habanero pepper, seeded and finely diced (use a whole one if you’re brave)
1/4 large red onion, diced
1/2 medium yellow pepper, diced
1 handful cilantro,finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- This is one salsa that I don’t make in the mini processor. The melon just looks more appealing diced. Try to get everything diced into a similar size.
- Mix everything together in a bowl and check the seasoning. Refrigerate till ready to use. Check the seasonings again just before serving, it might need salt, or more lime juice.
Notes: I originally used a whole seeded habanero for my salsa, and it was very very hot. I cut down the amount in the recipe to half a pepper. And be sure to wash well after chopping the habanero, the hot oils are very powerful and you don’t want to accidentally rub your eye after working with one of these guys. Even the insides of my fingernails were burning!
We topped grilled tilapia with our salsa, but if I have any leftover I’m going to break open the chips.