Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), wish we had this tradition in my country! I think it’s fascinating and beautiful. Is there a better way to remember and honor your deceased loved ones than by celebrating, drinking, eating, and telling stories? And how special it is that families congregate in graveyards at night, where the graves of the loved ones are being decorated and picnics are being held, with candlelight and music! They eat the favorite foods of the deceased, hoping the soul of their beloved finds his or her way back to earth to accompany them. I always try to make something Mexican on Día de los Muertos and celebrate it my way. Today we are having three fall inspired salsas: Sweet Potato Salsa, Pumpkin Seed Salsa, and my Chunky Guacamole with Pomegranate Seeds. Extra good with hot tortilla chips and beers.
SWEET POTATO SALSA
You can replace the sweet potato by butternut squash. If you like your salsa extra spicy, sprinkle over some extra jalapeño just before serving.
Dip, serves 4
Action Time: 20 minutes
1.2 lb/500 g sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
juice of 1-2 limes
½ red pepper, seeds removed and diced
3 scallions, chopped
1 fresh jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
a handful of chopped cilantro
Boil the sweet potato in salted water for 8 minutes or until just tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander and place in a bowl. Add the juice of 1 lime and toss gently. Add the red pepper, scallions, jalapeño (or serrano pepper), and olive oil. Season with salt and add some extra lime juice to taste. Add the cilantro just before serving.
PUMPKIN SEED SALSA
Pumpkin seeds are widely used throughout Mexico. I love the roasted and nutty taste of this smooth and hot salsa.
Dip, serves 4
Action Time: 15 minutes
3.5 oz/75 g unroasted pumpkin seeds
1-2 fresh serrano peppers
1 tasty tomato, skinned
a handful of cilantro
½ tsp dried (Mexican) oregano
lime juice, to taste
Extra: food processor
In an ungreased skillet, toast the seeds for about 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are golden. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. In an ungreased skillet roast the serrano pepper (use 2 serrano peppers if you like it spicy) until it has blackened spots all over. Remove from the heat, cut the chili pepper open, and remove the seeds. Add the serrano, skinned tomato, cilantro, and oregano to the pumpkin seeds in the food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and add some lime juice to taste.
CHUNKY GUACAMOLE WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS
In Arizona I once tasted a guacamole with pomegranate seeds. A delicious salsa that I now often make at home.
Dip, serves 4
Action Time: 10-15 minutes
3 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, and flesh diced
½ onion, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (seeds removed if you don’t want it too spicy)
a handful of cilantro, chopped
1 tsp dried (Mexican) oregano
juice of 1 lime (or to taste)
seeds of 1/3 pomegranate
Mash the avocado with a fork, leaving it somewhat chunky. Add the onion, jalapeño, cilantro, oregano, and toss gently to combine. Add the lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds.