We’re beginning to get a lot of jalapeños in the garden, so I have to come up with ways to use them, and I don’t really want to do the fried cheese-stuffed poppers. Using them in their fresh state is a nice change from roasting them; fresh jalapeños have a bright, slightly bitter taste, and they are not so hot that you suffer with each bite.
This salsa, which I’m also using to marinate chicken breasts before grilling, also uses bell pepper and raw onion, orange and lime juices, and a few spices. It has a clean, bright flavor in which you can taste all the notes of the ingredients. Made in the blender, the pulp of the onion and peppers gives the salsa enough body to work on its own, even with tortilla chips, but you could add chunky veggies to it afterwards for even more texture.
There are no oils or added sugar in this salsa, and all the vegetables are raw. You could achieve a different, milder result by roasting the vegetables first. Instead, I roasted some extra peppers and onions to serve with chicken marinated in the salsa and to echo the raw versions in the sauce.
Orange Jalapeño Salsa and Marinade
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 jalapeños, about 4″ long, each, seeded
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded—I think a red pepper would muddy the color of the salsa; a green one would be good but would add more bitterness
- 1 small yellow onion, about 2.5″ diameter
- 1 tablespoon grated garlic or garlic paste
- 1/8 teaspoon Jamaican allspice
- 1/4 cup cilantro paste—fresh cilantro if you can stand the smell and the annoyance of chopping herbs
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Add all ingredients to a blender jar. Blend on low, then move to highest speed to create a smooth sauce. There will still be plenty of texture from the vegetable pulp and skins that won’t completely emulsify. I don’t have one of those high-dollar new blenders, so maybe you need to adjust the instructions for those so you don’t over-blend the sauce.
I used less than a cup to marinate chicken breasts that had been sliced horizontally to make 4 pieces. The rest was refrigerated for serving later as a dressing on the chicken.