Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Zarsa - Peruvian Salsa

Onion and lettuce from a chicken sandwich I go...Image via Wikipedia

If there's one thing you can say about Peruvians, it's that they love onions. Red onions are a part of just about every meal. Even when they aren't cooked into the food, you'll find them served raw as a side dish. This side dish is officially called 'Salsa Criolla' , but everywhere you go, you'll see it called 'zarsa'.

2 Medium red onions
1 aji limo
2-3 limones (or key limes, if you're in the US)
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro (optional)

Cut the onions in half from top to bottom and peel off the outer skin. Slice in super thin half rings. When you've got everything sliced up, put it all in a colander, and rinse under cold water.

Slice your aji limo, also in very thin slices, so that you have little thin rings of pepper. It probably won't take the whole pepper, I usually add between 5-10 little tiny slices of it, depending on the size of my onions. It all depends on how spicy you like your zarsa.

Combine the onion slices and aji slices in a serving bowl. Sprinkle on salt and pepper, add about a tablespoons worth of finely chopped cilantro (if you like it - it's not necessary), then juice the limones over the whole thing. Stir to mix everything together. You can serve right away, or let it sit for a half hour or so, to let the flavors meld.

Great on hamburgers, hot dogs, with fried fish, fried chicken, on top of avocado slices - or just by itself as a side dish. I make this nearly every day!

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