Summertime in Los Angeles is characterized by heat. Heat by way of California sunshine, heat by way of energized summer activity throughout the city and along the coast, heat by way of hot Los Angeles based bands performing and invoking dancing, day and night. Heat is what we like. From salsa dancing, to sunbathing, to surfing or skipping the city’s best museums on hot summer days, Angelinos thrive in the heat of the summer knowing instinctively that the diversity of our local cuisine offers eats that nourish and compliment this hot lifestyle.
At the end of the day, we have an abundance of supreme Japanese food for cooling us down, yet still flirting with our hot desires. All throughout the county one can find a refreshing plate of excellent sashimi adorned with a cooling cucumber salad and accented by the bright and awakening heat of wasabi. Pho establishments grow increasingly present as we move further south toward Orange County. Big bowls of light rice noodles and vegetables in a delicate broth are refreshing with cooling herbs like fresh basil and cilantro. Brightened by the squeeze of a tart lime and the heat of some fresh jalapeño, these big bowls of Vietnamese soup are a staple in L.A. life. One of the most influential players in all of this hot summer cuisine is comida Latina. A city sprinkled with amazing and authentic taco stands, pupuserías, fresh fruit carts and a galaxy of other celebrations of Latin style food- L.A. breaths sabor Latino- especially in the summer.
For a homemade treat that reflects the beauty of fresh California produce and the lively Latin flavor of L.A., try this peach and roasted habañero salsa. This spicy, yet refreshing and slightly sweet salsa is conducive of summer in L.A. in that it takes a sweet approach to feeding our need for heat while simultaneously refreshing us and cooling us down. Delicious, on a piece of grilled fish or enjoyed with tortilla chips and beer, this salsa is fabulous. Some might even say, “Hot.”
Peach and roasted habañero salsa
4 fresh medium sized peaches (diced)
1 habañero (roasted de-seeded and minced)
3 tablespoons red onion (finely chopped)
½ cup fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
Juice of 3-4 fresh limes
Juice of one ½ orange
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Method of Preparation
Mix all ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: To roast the habañero, begin by drizzling it with a touch of olive oil and sprinkling it with a little salt. Next, you can either throw it on the grill or put it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until it is slightly charred on the outside. Allow the pepper to cool before removing seeds and chopping.