Every week on the Good Food Blog we celebrate Meatless Monday by sharing a vegetarian recipe from our archives.
Fresh Hoja Santa Table Salsa
Makes about 2 cups
Anise-tasting hoja santa (Piper auritum) commonly known as hierba santa, yierba santa, acuyo in Veracruz, momo in Chiapas, and root beer plant in the US are prized throughout the southern half of Mexico, especially in Puebla and along the Gulf coast states. Cooks wrap raw fish fillets in huge, 8- to 10-inch, heart-shaped leaves—so the cooked seafood gets permeated with hoja santa’s enticing herbal flavor—and then they grill, bake or steam the packages. The wrapping leaves (do not eat) sometime blacken but add great flavor. The recipe is an excellent all-round table salsa. Find Mexican herbs at Coleman Family Farms at the Santa Monica Farmers’ market.
1 hoja santa leaf (about 6-inches), stem removed
1 large (3-inches) white onion
1 or 2 fresh green jalapeño or serrano chiles
3 Mexican limes (a.k.a. Key limes), juiced
1 large, ripe Hass avocado
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 tsp agave syrup
1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt
1. Coarsely chop the hoja santa leaf and put in a blender or processor.
2. Peel and cut the onion into large chunks. Stem one chile and coarsely chop (include seeds). Add onion and chile to blender. Pour in the lime juice and blend about 15 seconds. Scrape down container sides.
3. Cut the avocado open, remove pit and spoon the flesh into the blender. Add the cilantro, agave syrup and salt. Purée until foamy, about 30 seconds.
4. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Add more finely chopped chile if desired. Serve immediately at room temperature.