Category:  Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces

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Green Salsa with Guajes

In Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces On September 23, 2016 0 Comments

This salsa is made with tomatillos and guaje seeds. Both are used in the traditional cuisine of Mexico.


The gauge pods are about one foot in length and thin and flat. Guaje pods have a tough, outer skin which is green and red in color and slightly translucent. This allows seeds to look like spots along the length of the pod. The seeds are small, flat and light green with a sharp flavor. They are high in protein.

Guaje seeds are incorporated in this delicious green salsa from the city of Puebla. Enjoy the salsa with fish, meat or chicken or as a dressing for a green salad.

Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes (toasting the seeds & boiling the tomatillos)
Makes: 2 to 2-1/2 cups salsa

8 to 9 tomatillos, skin removed and discarded and fruit rinsed in water
2 dried red chiles or 1 Serrano chile
8 to 10 guaje pods (found in Latin American supermarkets)
1 whole garlic clove, peeled
2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Dash cumin
Salt, to taste

1. Place tomatillos and chile(s) in a 3-quart saucepot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil – tomatillos will become tender after a 5 to 7-minute boil.

2. Meanwhile, using a sharp, pointed knife, split the gauge pod skins at the top. Open the pod skins lengthwise and remove the guaje seeds. Set them aside in a small bowl.

3. Transfer seeds to a nonstick skillet set on medium-high heat.

4. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, toss the seeds as they roast. As they begin to “pop”, immediately set heat on low and continue toasting until they are light golden brown.


5. Transfer seeds to a bowl; set aside to cool while tomatillos are cooking.

6. If tomatillos are tender when pierced with a fork, they are done. Drain tomatillos and chile(s) over a sink in a colander, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

7. Let tomatillos and chile(s) cool for about 5 minutes.

8. After tomatillos and chile(s) have cooled, transfer them to a blender with remaining ingredients except for the seeds.

9. Puree the salsa and taste it. If needed, add a dash more salt.

10. Pour the green salsa into a serving bowl and top it with the toasted guaje seeds.

11. Serve immediately. Alternatively, cover the salsa with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator up to 1 day (after 2 days, the salsa’s flavors will become tart and acidy).

Note: You can serve Green Salsa with Guajes as a salad dressing – this is how I like it!
Text and Photographs ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real

Strawberry-Nectarine Salsa

In Fruit and Jams, Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces On August 14, 2015 0 Comments

I can’t help thinking that fruit is the sweetest gift that Nature has given us. While I enjoy all types of fruit in its natural state, I also like to be creative with it.

This salsa is made with strawberries, nectarines (or peaches), green onions, Serrano chiles, lime juice, agave nectar and olive oil. It pairs well with meat, fish and poultry. Serve this strawberry-nectarine salsa at your next cookout!

Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes
Makes: 3-1/2 cups

16 ounces fresh strawberries, rinsed, dried and hulled
2 to 3 fresh nectarines, peeled (peaches can be substituted for the nectarines)
4 green onions, roots and dark tips cut and discarded
1 Serrano chile, finely chopped (if chile too hot, then only use half)
Juice from 1 lime
2 to 3 tablespoons agave nectar (this can be substituted with granulated sugar)
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Working on a chopping board, cut each strawberry in half, vertically.

2. Chop the strawberry halves into 1/4-inch pieces and set aside in a 2 to 3-quart mixing bowl.

3. Cut the nectarines into 1/2-inch thick slices.

4. Cut each slice into 1/4-inch pieces and add these to the strawberries in bowl; set aside.

5. Cut the onions into thin circles (about 1/8-inch thick) and add them to the chopped fruit in bowl.

6. Add the chopped Serrano chiles and lime juice to the fruit mixture in bowl.

7. Gently stir in the agave nectar, olive oil and salt.

8. Stir the salsa thoroughly and taste it. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

9. Serve salsa immediately or refrigerate it up to 3 hours ahead.

NOTE: This salsa will last until the next day. Howevever, the fruit’s texture will change.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

Basil Almond Pesto

In Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces On June 14, 2012 0 Comments

At this time of year there’s no doubt that herbs are the rage. My home garden is lush with beautiful green leaves –  parsley, cilantro, oregano, marjoram, sage, thyme and the most important herb of all – basil.

For this pesto recipe, I combined the aromatic basil leaves with almonds. This incredible Basil Almond Pesto will help you serve great panini or pasta dishes in minutes. Don’t know about you, but with all that extra time, I’d rather go to a movie or enjoy a great outdoor activity such as biking on a mountain trail or rollerblading at Santa Monica Beach.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 pint

1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup whole almonds (unroasted and unsalted)
2 cups fresh, Italian flat parsley leaves, slightly packed (washed and spun dry)
2 cups fresh basil leaves, slightly packed (washed and spun dry)*
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. In a food processor, grind the garlic and salt.

2. Add the almonds and process until they are ground (make sure they do not turn into a paste).

3. Open the food processor cover and add the parsley and basil leaves, making sure they fit inside barrel. Cover and process until the leaves and almonds have combined and the pesto has formed.

4. Add the cheese and process once more until mixture is uniform.

5. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil into the pesto in a thin stream.

6. Using a spoon, transfer the pesto to a glass jar, flattening the top. Gently and slowly pour the vegetable oil over top of pesto to seal it (this will prevent the pesto from blackening). Cover and refrigerate.

Pesto sauces keep in refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Whenever using small amounts of pesto, make sure the remaining portion inside jar is covered with vegetable oil.

Pasta with Basil Almond Pesto – Serves 4:

1. While waiting for one pound of pasta to cook, spoon about 3/4 cup pesto into a glass or porcelain serving bowl.

2. Drain the pasta and immediately transfer it to the bowl with the pesto. Gently toss the pasta until it is evenly coated with the pesto.

3. For a creamier texture, add 2 to 3 tablespoons whipping cream and toss.

Serve immediately and ask guests to sprinkle some grated cheese over their pasta, if desired.

Pesto can also be used as a spread on toasted Italian or French bread and in panini.

*Note: After basil leaves have been spun dry, lay each leaf flat on paper towels. Using another paper towel, pat each leaf dry, on both sides. This will prevent the leaves from blackening.

Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real

Mango Salsa

In Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces On October 20, 2011 0 Comments


Mangoes are my favorite fruit. They are commonly grown in areas of Asia, Mexico as well as in other warm countries. The flesh of a mango is bright yellow or orange, juicy, sweet and slightly tart (when half-ripened). This sensory experience usually makes me forget that I’m merely eating a fruit. I often incorporate the exotic mango in my Indian, Mexican and California dishes.

In my home, this “hot” Mango Salsa is in such high demand that it doesn’t last very long. When preparing the salsa, you won’t be able to stop yourself from “tasting” at least half of it. Be sure to double up on the ingredients when you go shopping or there will be nothing left for your guests!

Buen Provecho (Spanish, for “Bon Appetit”).

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Makes: 3 cups

2 large, ripe mangos, peeled and diced
2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
½ jalapeño pepper, minced
Juice of ½ a lime or lemon
Dash chipotle ahumado powder* (optional)
1 tablespoon white Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a 1 or 2-quart mixing bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings.

2. Stir and serve immediately.

3. Alternatively, the salsa can be refrigerated 2 to 4 hours before serving.

As an appetizer, serve Mango Salsa with tortilla chips or tostada shells.

Mango Salsa can be served as part of a salad course or as a side dish, complementing poultry, meat or fish.

Note: Mango Salsa is best served the same day, but will keep refrigerated up to two days. Overnight, the mango’s texture becomes soft and the salsa mixture is slightly watery but still delicious.

*Chipotle ahumado powder can be purchased online at

Text & Photograph © 2011 Nancy DeLucia Real

Turkey Burritos with Cranberry Orange Sauce

In Fun Foods, Poultry, Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces, Sandwiches, Panini & Burritos On November 20, 2010 1 Comment

This recipe is the perfect solution for a quick fixin’ of turkey leftovers – in the gourmet mode. The Cranberry Orange Sauce should be made ahead of time and, of course, goes well with our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. The next day or for the entire post-holiday week, simply sauté some shredded turkey with onions, heat up a few tortillas et voila! The combined flavors of roasted turkey and cranberry orange sauce intertwined with a hot tortilla will satisfy any palate. Buen Provecho!

Prep time: 15 minutes (for the turkey filling & burrito assembly)
Cook time: 15 minutes (for the sauce – makes 2-1/2 cups)
Recipe makes: 4 burritos

For the Cranberry Orange Sauce:
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
2 cups fresh cranberries
Juice of one orange
1 cup cold water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
One 3-inch cinnamon stick (optional)

1. In a cup, stir together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water; set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a 2-quart saucepot, stir remaining ingredients together.

3. Set saucepot on stove burner, uncovered, on high heat setting. Bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to low setting and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until cranberries pop and a sauce has formed.

5. While sauce is simmering, stir in the cornstarch mixture; cook and stir 1 additional minute.

6. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Transfer the sauce to a Pyrex or porcelain bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, set on a counter and cool completely.

7. The sauce can be made up to one week ahead, stored and covered in a glass or porcelain container and refrigerated.

For the Burritos:

1. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil. Add turkey and onion.

2. Cook on medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and turkey meat toasts and becomes light golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Transfer cooked turkey filling to a glass or porcelain bowl, cover and keep warm.

For the Turkey Filling & the Burritos:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups shredded, cooked turkey meat (light or dark meat)
1/2 cup chopped white or brown onion
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
Four 10-inch flour tortillas*

1. Wipe the same skillet clean and place on stove burner on medium low setting.

2. Warm up the tortillas in skillet, two at a time, inverting them occasionally until warmed through.

3. Transfer both warmed tortillas to a flat working surface.

4. With one tortilla in front of you, place 1/4 of the turkey filling one inch from edge closest to you. Slightly spread the filling to the sides, horizontally, until it is one inch from tortilla sides.

5. Beginning the burrito roll up by picking up the tortilla edge closest to you.

6. Roll up the burrito halfway. Fold in the tortilla sides and continue the roll up until you have formed a burrito.

7. Warm up remaining two tortillas and repeat burrito assembly.

Gobble up the burritos immediately!

*Preferred tortilla brands: Guerrero or Diana (other types tend to be dry). Tortillas can be found in most supermarkets or in Latin American markets.

Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real