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The Last Bite of Salsa Vinaigrette

Did it happen when you started cooking for your kids: You discovered you were tossing out perfectly good yet uneaten food? It is impossible to predict which meal my kids will chow down on, and which they will forsake. It is clearly an arbitrary game-time decision. To combat the unnecessary discard, we instituted a “waste not, want not” motto in our kitchen. Translation: We learn to love our leftovers and find creative ways to use them. For instance: Got a little salsa left in the jar? It adds a biting piquancy to a basic vinaigrette. Here’s how to do it.

This recipe will work with any kind of salsa that you may have hiding in the back of your refrigerator with only a few spoonfuls remaining in the jar. However, if you want to make fresh salsa here’s my favorite recipe. My husband the pizzaiolo makes this salsa, which is enough for about one evening of chips-and-salsa pre-dinner noshing and leaves over a couple of tablespoons for vinaigrette.

He says: “The point of this recipe is to not constrain the cook by using exact measurements…”

1 large tomato or two small ones, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
some chopped cilantro
some minced jalapeno
some minced red onion
a couple of dashes hot sauce (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Let stand in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Will keep for several days.

To make the vinaigrette:

2 or 3 tablespoons salsa
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon apple cider or other mild vinegar or fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients.

P.S. The food writers at The Family Kitchen are fools for salsa: Brooke makes a restaurant-style version here. Jenny makes hers with peaches here. Jaime makes dessert-style salsa with cinnamon tortilla chips here.

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