anamaya resort, it was present as a condiment at every meal, adding its unique vinegar-shaped heat to our meals. i asked the morning chef alex if he would be willing to share his recipe with me, so i could share it here. he did better than that and invited me to come down to the kitchen to make a new batch! much laughter and chopping ensued as i took scratchy notes and mostly blurry pictures in the low lighting. we bantered in spanish, english and hand motions until he was sure i was clear on the directions. the idea with adding the water boiling hot is to "cook" the vegetables, softening them. if you don't have fresh jalapenos or another variety of hot pepper try a couple dried hot peppers, chopped or crushed red chili flakes. gracias alex, con mucho gusto, me presenta, su salsa!
1 medium cucumber, about 1 1/2 cups chopped
1 medium onion, about 1 cup sliced
3-4 ripe hot jalapenos
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp cayenne powder, optional
quart mason jar & filtered water
Peel the onion and slice into thin half moons. using your fingers separate the slices into individual pieces and place in the mason jar. slice the cucumber lengthwise into quarters then slice the quarters into pieces not more than 1/4" thick. add to the mason jar. slice the peppers into rounds, add to the jar (no rubbing of the eyes now!). dice up the garlic, add that and the sea salt to the jar. shake in the optional hot pepper powder and set aside.
Put about 2 cups of water on the stove to boil. meanwhile, juice the limes removing any seeds and add to the jar, you'll want the lime juice to come more less halfway up the jar. finally, top with the boiling water to one inch of the rim and using your hands roll the jar back and forth. alex was amazing at this, deftly spinning the jar between his hands mixing it all together without spilling a drop. at which point he made a reference to his ability of mixing the jar being connected to his "love" of women... at home i found i needed to put the lid on the jar and shake it like heck to get it to mix, ha!
At this point, the salsa is done, but not ready. let it sit out, lid secure, on the counter for a day or two. the longer you keep it out, the hotter the salsa gets. for more lime and less kick, refigerate sooner than later. at anamaya, we used the salsa on just about everything, scrambled eggs, gallo pinto (rice and beans), fish, salad, sauteed veggies, fresh bread, it adds a fabulous kick.
a few side notes
-the limes he used were a kind of mandarin-lime cross. once home i made the recipe with lemon cucumbers and the plain limes available at the co-op and the salsa turned out great. next time i might add half a tangerine or orange to the lime juice for the hint of sweetness the limes lack.
-alex mentioned a host of other veg he sometimes adds, like carrots, cauliflower, green beans or broccoli.
-to switch it up a bit, i'm looking forward to adding some toasted cumin, coriander and a bit of the merken (secret indigenous smoked pepper) we brought back from chile.