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If I say “salsa” what crosses your mind?  To most of us, the “salsa” word immediately pulls up an image of something red, hot, and sitting on a chip.  It’s as if Karl Marx were the Chief Salsa maker with the motto: “Salsas of the world, unite!”

Thank God for diversity.  There is a world of salsas in all colors, flavors, and intensities.   This one offers you an abundance of fruit flavors including mango, banana and plenty of chili warmth.  This salsa can sit proudly on the top of any chip.  It’s also the perfect accompaniment for dishes like chili, nacho, or crab cakes.

As a complement to say, chili, this salsa provides contrast in texture and sparkle.  A chilled salsa is a bright match for stove-hot chili.  This complementary role is achieved without blandness: there is heat in this salsa and it’s appropriately spicy to provide contrast for that chili.

I’ve made this salsa many times and have refined this recipe so that it is quick and easy to make, yet utterly delicious.  In the ingredients below, you see I specify “2” of everything, which makes for each preparation.  The last ingredient, the jalapenos, is the one exception.  I prefer the heat of just one jalapeno but you may want two.  And, as with any salsa, some last minute adjustment of heat, of lime juice, or of sugar may be needed given the sweetness of the fruit.

If you haven’t worked with mangos before, it’s simple.  Just peel and cut off the meat.  That “big” fruit has a big core, so you harvest relatively little meat from each mango.  Don’t try to cut into that core.  If you are pressing with your knife, you’ll be pressing with your teeth and that’s not good salsa.

One word of warning from my lawyer: these are jalapenos so be careful.  You probably think the “warnings” about hot peppers are over done. They aren’t. Wearing rubber gloves is a good idea. Avoiding anything near you eye is important. When I made my last test batch two days ago, I avoided my eye completely. But I did rub my brow once, then went to exercise, sweated, and had to flush my eye with cold water. Please be careful.

Feel free to improvise with this recipe.  You can add cilantro or other spices.  I like this version which has fewer of the “usual” ingredients and gives you a distinctly “new” flavor experience.


Brian’s Spicy Mango Salsa

Servings: enough for 4-6 people as a side dish


  • 2 mangos, the meat cut into medium dice
  • 2 bananas, cut into ¼ inch rounds
  • 2 shallots, cut into medium dice
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 jalapeno, diced with seeds and membrane removed
  • Garnishes: sliced cilantro, scallions, …


Place the diced mango in a bowl, then add the bananas and shallots.  Pour in the lime juice and stir immediately.  The lime juice will help keep the bananas from turning brown.  Add the sugar, vinegar, and salt and stir.  Then add the jalapeno.  Stir to mix, then set aside for five minutes.  Sample the mixture and adjust the flavor to your taste.  You may want more lime juice, sugar, salt, or even vinegar.  Over the next hour the sugar will begin to draw plenty of liquid from the fruit.

Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Source: Brian O’Rourke