In addition to the cake that I brought for my friend Lauren’s 40th birthday, I also brought a couple of appetizers. I figured since her husband Travis was going to be hauling the entire dinner up the mountain, the least I could do was bring some things to munch on while he got the rest of the food ready.
When I was searching for recipes for another friend’s 40th birthday party, I found this one for Grilled Vegetable Salsa. I was planning to make it for John, but then decided to take the party in a more Mediterranean and less Mexican direction. The idea of the salsa stayed with me and when I learned fajitas were on last weekend’s menu, I knew exactly what to make as an appetizer.
This recipe comes from Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook. I love this book on principle. It has lots of gorgeous photographs in the front and all the recipes in the back. It is well laid out and all the recipes I have tried are winners. What I don’t like is that almost every recipe suggests you serve the dish right away. What kind of cocktail party is there where you can make everything à la minute? So, I take a lot of what is said in the book with a grain of salt. Against Martha’s advice, I also streamlined the cooking process and I made parts of the salsa ahead of time. It was great and everyone loved it. The salsa was awesome with chips, but you could incorporate it into a main course by spooning a generous amount of the salsa over black beans and rice, and topping it all off with slices of avocado or guacomole.
One Year Ago: Mushroom Pearl Pasta with Sweet Peas and Goat Cheese (if peas are in season where you live, make this!)
Grilled Vegetable Salsa
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook
Makes 1 1/2 quarts
Stewart calls for three different cooking methods for the vegetables. I streamlined it into two. You could further streamline it by just grilling the peppers rather than roasting them. If you do roast the peppers, they can be made up to four days ahead of time and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.
1 tsp. olive oil
2 ears of fresh corn, husk and silk removed
1 large red onion, root intact, sliced into 1/2-inch rings
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 roasted large red bell peppers, seeds removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 roasted large yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 roasted large orange bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 oz. kalamata or oil-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 roughly chopped fresh basil
1. Prepare a grill over high heat. Place the corn and onions on the grate and grill, turning, until grill marks appear on all sides and the corn and onions are cooked through. The onions will take 5-8 minutes and the corn will need 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. When cool, cut the corn off the cob. Cut the onion rings into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside. (Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill. Return to room temperature before continuing.)
2. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, peppers, corn, and onion. Stir in olives, garlic, cumin, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the vegetables to marinate for at least one hour and up to six hours. Just before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste.