Quick and easy to prepare, salsa Criolla is an onion relish that is the perfect accompaniment for so many dishes, especially butifarra, a famous Peruvian ham sandwich. Lime juice is the key ingredient -- it adds a bright flavor that sweetens the onions and livens up everything else on the plate. Soaking the onions in salted water beforehand also sweetens them and adds to the flavor of the salsa.
For authenticity's sake, it is important to cut the onions "a la pluma," or like feathers. Slice them into very thin half moons, retaining the curve of the onion, so that they look like little curls on the plate. In Peru, this salsa is made with ají chile peppers, but jalapeños make a reasonable substitute. (Just be sure to wear gloves when seeding and slicing the chilis.) Some people also add tomatoes and/or garlic.
- 2 red onions (sliced in very thin half moons)
- 1 to 2 ají or jalapeño peppers (seeded and sliced into very thin matchsticks, to taste)
- 1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped fresh, or parsley, or a combination of both)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Soak the thinly sliced onions in salt water for 10 minutes. Drain and let dry.
- Mix the sliced onion with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the salsa marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
- Store salsa in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.