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    • Randy Graham

    • May 5, 2014 in Columnists

    Tres Salsas for Cinco de Mayo

    Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

    Tres Salsas translates as “three salsas” in English. Cinco de Mayo translates as “Fifth of May.” So what is this title really trying to say?

    It’s my clumsy way to say I’m offering three different salsa recipes with which to commemorate Cinco de Mayo.

    Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday in Mexico and celebrated throughout our southwest. When I was growing up, I used to think Cinco de Mayo was like our Fourth of July. What did I know?

    Cinco de Mayo is actually a celebration of Mexico’s military victory over French colonialists in 1862. When Mexico declared a temporary moratorium on the repayment of foreign debts, troops from England, Spain and France invaded. By April, 1862, the English and Spanish had withdrawn, but the French, with the support of wealthy Mexican landowners, remained in an attempt to establish a monarchy as a way to curb U.S. power in North America.

    On May 5, 1862, a poorly equipped mestizo and Zapotec force under the command of Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated French troops at the Battle of Puebla southeast of Mexico City. Although the French did not withdraw from Mexico until five years later, this battle became a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination.

    Why do I offer different salsas for those of us who wish to honor Cinco de Mayo? Sometimes one salsa is simply not enough. Other times different foods require different sauces. Often times it is just plain fun.

    Why do I offer only three different salsas and not five? Five would have been cool because the title could have been “Cinco Salsas for Cinco de Mayo” which sounds so much better. I wish I had a better answer but the truth is I only have three different salsa recipes in my culinary bag of tricks. These salsas are so good, however, that three is good enough. Give them a try and let me know what you think.

    Grilled Peach and Avocado Salsa

    2 ripe Haas avocados
    2 ripe peaches
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (divided)
    ¼ cup shallots (chopped fine)
    2 garlic cloves (minced)
    2 jalapenos (seeds removed and sliced thin)
    ¼ teaspoon salt

    Preheat your grill on medium high heat (400 to 450 degrees) for 10-15 minutes.

    While the grill is heating, slice the avocados and peaches in half lengthwise and remove the pits. Brush a mixture of 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 tablespoon lime juice on the flat sides of each half. Make sure they’re coated generously to avoid sticking to the grill.

    Once the grill is hot, add the avocado and peach halves, cut side down, and close the lid. Grill for 4 minutes. Use grill tongs to carefully remove the peach and avocado halves to a plate.

    While the peaches are still hot they can be easily peeled. Allow them to cool before dicing. Use a large spoon to scoop the avocado flesh away from the peel.

    In a large bowl combine the remaining lime juice, shallots, garlic, and jalapenos. Dice the avocados and peaches into small pieces and fold into the salsa. Refrigerate for approximately 30 before serving.

    Mango Habanero Salsa

    2 fresh mangoes
    ¼ teaspoon fresh habanero chilies
(seeded and diced fine)
    3 tablespoons red bell pepper
(diced fine)
    2 tablespoons white onion (diced fine)
    1 ½ tablespoons fresh cilantro (diced fine)
    2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
    ½ teaspoon salt


    Remove the skin and seed from mangoes. Puree enough fruit in a blender to provide ½ cup mango pulp and cut enough mangos for another ½ cup diced mango.

    Remove the seeds from habanero and dice finely. Note: when removing seeds, use gloves if necessary and wash hands thoroughly afterwards. If you like really hot salsa, use ½ teaspoon diced habanero chilies.

    Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well. Cover and let sit for 1 hour to allow flavors to blend. If salsa is too thick, add a small amount of water.

    Salsa Fresca

    5 – 6 medium tomatoes (diced)
    1 medium white onion (diced)
    ¼ cup fresh cilantro (chopped fine)
    2 jalapeno chiles (seeded and chopped fine)
    1 garlic clove (minced)
    Juice of 1 lime
    Salt (to taste)


    Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stir and enjoy.

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