Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Try spicy dry rubs and fruit salsas to add sizzle n’ shake to meat and fish

Strap on your dancing shoes, cast a sultry look at that wallflower of a fish before you and give it your best shimmy n’ shake. Rub it down with a spicy dry rub, then grill, roast or bake it and top the hot little number with some fresh and saucy fruit salsa. Snap your fingers Latino style and say “cha, cha, cha” to your new dinner partners.

If your fish, chicken, pork, or beef dishes are dragging their feet on your dinner plate these days, jazz them up with a little sizzling action; introduce them to herb and spice rubs and pair them with some zingy fruit salsas. Before you know it you’ll be stealing the show serving zesty “Ooh-la-la” crowd-pleasing dishes without the drama of transfats and mondo-calories that trip up many cream-covered entrées!

Spicy dry rubs cling to meat and fish—helping them to brown and become crispy when cooked! Rubs are as simple as the two-step to make; just mix together a few herbs, spices and salt; then rub the mixture all over the food before grilling, roasting or baking. Fruit salsas pair well with just about any spice-rubbed leading entrée—especially grilled or baked fish. Try a salsa fusion of mango, pineapple, peach, or papaya, peppers, parsley or cilantro and a splash of guava or lime juice to give a distinctive twist to cod, halibut, salmon, chicken, pork or beef.

For spotlight-worthy fruit salsa, follow these tips:

· Chop ingredients coarsely, keep them raw.

· Chop herbs with scissors to keep them fresh and recognizable.

· Don’t use a food processor or you may wind up serving a fruit porridge.

· Raw onions should be finely chopped, rinsed under cold water and sprinkled with a citrus juice to mellow the onion’s strong flavour.

· Add onion last and don’t let ready-to-go salsa sit on the sidelines for too long –that onion will steal the limelight and spoil the graceful fruit flavours!

· Need more kick? Improvise and add a dash of tequila or rum to the mix.

· For best flavour, serve freshly-made salsa right away.

· Allow 2-4 tablespoons per serving.

Mix and match these simple dry rubs and fruit salsas to spice up your weeknight dinner entreés. Bon appetit!


Simple Curry Rub

Excellent for salmon, halibut or cod.

1 tbsp curry powder

¼ tsp cayenne

1 tbsp maple syrup

Mix together curry and cayenne. Brush maple syrup on fish. Sprinkle curry mixture on top. Bake at 425F for 20-25 min or until fish flakes at the thickest part. Serve with pineapple, mango, peach or melon salsa.

Brown Sugar Cumin Rub

Perfect with pork, chicken or fish.

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp chilli powder

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp olive oil

Mix together all ingredients and rub on pork or chicken. Grill, broil or bake until done. Serve with a Mango or Papaya Salsa.

Tandoori Rub

1 ½ tsp EACH garlic powder and paprika

1 tsp EACH cayenne, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger and salt

¼ tsp EACH ground cardamom and ground cinnamon

Mix together all ingredients and rub on fish, chicken, pork or beef. Grill, broil or bake until done.

Jamaican Rub

4 tsp ground allspice

1 tbsp EACH dried thyme and paprika

1 tsp EACH cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, salt

¼ tsp black pepper

Mix together all ingredients and rub on chicken or fish. Grill, broil or bake until done.

Mexican Rub

2 tbsp hot Mexican chilli powder

1 tsp EACH cumin, dried oregano, garlic powder and salt

¼ tsp ground cloves

Mix together all ingredients and rub on fish, chicken, pork or beef. Grill, broil or bake until done.

Fruit Salsas:

Pineapple Salsa

1 14 oz can pineapples cubes or fresh pineapple, cubed

2 tbsp reserved pineapple liquid

½ cup diced red pepper

2 tbsp sliced red onion

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tsp fresh lime or lemon juice

¼ tsp salt

Drain pineapple and reserve 2 tbsp of liquid. Prepare other ingredients. Add pineapple and reserved liquid. Serve with salmon or halibut.

Mango Salsa

1 large mango, peeled and diced

1 tbsp onion, chopped

½ red pepper, chopped

2 tbsp lime juice

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp cumin

Combine all ingredients. Serve at once with pork or beef or fish.

Melon Fruit Salsa

Great with any grilled fish!

1 1/2 c. finely diced cantaloupe or casaba melon
1 1/2 c. finely diced honeydew melon
1 1/2 c. finely diced crenshaw melon
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or mint
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced or 1/4 tsp. cayenne

Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate. Serve on the side, well chilled, with grilled fish.

Peach Salsa

2 cups chopped, peeled fresh peaches

1/4 cup chopped sweet onion

3 tbsp limejuice

2 to 3 tbsp finely chopped, seeded fresh jalapeno pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp snipped fresh cilantro

1/2 tsp sugar

In a medium mixing bowl stir together peaches, onion, limejuice, peppers, garlic, cilantro, and sugar.

Peach Papaya Salsa

1 peach, pitted, peeled and finely chopped

1 papaya, halved, seeded, peeled and finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp rice vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/2 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp white pepper

In a glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the peach, papaya, red bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, honey, vinegar, lime juice, cilantro, ginger, cayenne, salt and pepper. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

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