Fresh Mango Salsa


A True Mexican Collectible: Versatile Summertime Salsas…

When asked recently whether I was a collector of some sort, I thought of my grandmother’s cabinet that holds hundreds of elephant figurines — more than 60 years’ worth, from many places. And she’s still adding to the lot. So my response was no.

Then a few days later I realized that I am a collector: of foods tasted throughout my life, or at least the memories of them. This is especially true of salsas. I have countless papers scattered on my desk with notes about the names of them, the places I ate them, their ingredients, the cooks who made them and, when generously given, directions on how to re-create them.

When the mood strikes, I search to find that precise note (which may be in a coat pocket, bag or drawer). Or I sit down with eyes closed and try to remember the feel of the sauce.

When all else fails, I make one up.

If you look in my refrigerator, you will find a salsa. That is mainly because my husband is always asking for one but also because salsas can pump up the beauty and richness of any meal. To me, salsas are one of the exceptional elements of Mexican cooking: delicious, accommodating and versatile. Among the many possibilities, we eat salsas on top of rice, beans, potatoes; alongside meats, chicken, seafood and vegetables; spooned inside or outside all sorts of dishes such as tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas; scooped with a piece of toast and spooned straight from the container.

I wouldn’t dare guess how many salsas there are in Mexican cooking as I am sure to be wrong, and the cuisine keeps evolving. But I can safely say that if I were to give you a different salsa to taste each month, my lifetime, however long, wouldn’t give us enough time to cover the choices.

Salsas can be eaten from morning till night, and are known to be especially savored after midnight when the food stands on Mexican streets — and some in Los Angeles, as well — serve their secret-recipe salsas with antojos and quick dishes. The late-night crowds crave them.

Some are made with dozens of ingredients, prepared in laborious ways. Others use a few easy-to-find ingredients and can be assembled in minutes. For me, the latter sound like the perfect salsas for summer.

Three of my no-cook favorites, from my ever-growing and scattered collection, are a raw tomatillo and chipotle salsa, made lush with the addition of avocado and fresh cheese; a luxurious mango salsa with slivers of red onion, jalapeño and chopped cilantro; and a versatile, ancho chili pickled salsa, which keeps in the fridge for months.

If you are so inclined, please leave comments online about the accompanying recipes (or share with me whatever food-related things you tend to gather). I will collect them all.

This article was written for and published by The Washington Post on August 5, 2009 The Washington Post.

Ancho Chile Salsa (or Pickle)

Escabeche de Chile Ancho

Recipe Yield

2 cups

Cooking time

10 minutes

Rate this recipe

3.88 from 8 votes


  • 6 to 8 ancho chiles rinsed, stemmed and seeded, about 3 ounces
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar or grated piloncillo or to taste

To Prepare

  • Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, cut the stemmed and seeded chiles lengthwise into thin strips and place them in a mixing bowl. Add the onion, garlic, vinegars, oil, salt and sugar to the bowl and toss to mix well. Transfer everything to a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before using.


20comments inA True Mexican Collectible: Versatile Summertime Salsas…

  1. Karen Lawson

    Jul 31

    Hi Pati, I love your show! Your cooking is amazing. I knew right away I would have to have your cookbook on my shelf. I shall buy soon. Question though? How do I prolong the life of a salsa? Should I add a bit of olive oil? As long as it does not call for Avocado in it?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 09

      Depending on the salsa, it will keep for up to a week in the fridge (like the salsa verde) and even months (like the ancho chile salsa) without any additional olive oil.

    2. Alicia Enriquez

      Feb 22

      Hi Pati
      I Love your expressions when you taste the recipes you make. The recent episode that I saw is how to make chicken liver.
      Sooner or later I will try to make recipe for chicken liver. I will keep you posted.

      1. Pati Jinich

        Mar 08

        Looking forward to reading your review Alicia 🙂

  2. María Ritter

    Jul 30

    I made this ancho pickle salsa. This is my husband favorite over a tuna melt. Thank you Pati.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 31

      That’s a great pairing, Maria!

  3. Josh

    Jan 17

    In May 2018 I made the fresh mango salsa for a salsa competition at work, and (with some slight modifications) won 1st place. A couple of days ago I made another batch and brought it to work today. Some co-workers have said this is the best mango salsa they have every had! Thanks Patti.

    1. Pati

      Jan 17

      Oh this makes me so happy to hear! Thank you so much for sharing, Josh.

  4. Bev

    Jan 16

    why is it so difficult to locate the recipes from the show for the day???
    trying to find carnitas done with the pork & sweetened condensed milk & the Gazpacho fruit, pineapple, mango, jicama, lime jc crumbles of cheese, & dusting of chili pdr on top.

  5. Peggy

    Jul 07

    I admit I was suspicious about the Mango Salsa as what I’ve had in the past was overly sweet and frankly, disgusting. However, I tried it and was very, very pleasantly surprised. It’s fantastic! I made it, the pico de gallo, and guacamole. Normally the guacamole is gone in a heartbeat, but not this time, the Mango Salsa was gobbled up almost as soon as I set it down! Definitely going in the ‘save’ pile among my recipes!

    1. Pati

      Jul 07

      Hola Peggy, I’m so happy you tried my mango salsa! GREAT to hear everyone enjoyed it!!

  6. gee willikers

    Jun 18

    Woman can not live on salsa alone, but I intend to try!

    1. Pati

      Jun 18


  7. Will Rountree

    Jun 18

    Hi Pati,

    Salsas all sound good, I usually make a simple pico de gallo and add mangos sometimes! Always very refreshing! I love to watch your show!

  8. Rosario Ibanez

    Jul 18

    Hi Pati,
    I love your recipes and have tried and cooked many of them already. I’ve baked one of your cake’s for several social occasions already and always come out a winner!! I love you for that.
    I can’t wait to prepare these salsas and surprise my family with new refreshing summer tastes.
    Take care and I wish you continued success in your endeavors.

    1. Pati

      Jul 18

      Hola Rosario, Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me! It is lovely to hear your kind words, and I’m so happy you are using my recipes. Please let me know how you like the salsas (hopefully, will be as successful as the cakes!). All my best to you…

  9. marlinda flores

    Jul 18

    Pati I love your show I watch late on wednesdays
    I am going to cook your chicken in a tomatillo, chipotle and brown sugar today it really looks delicious on tv. Your cooking reminds me of my abuellas cooking she has passed on so many tips similiar to yours. God bless

    1. Pati

      Jul 18

      Thank you for watching, Marlinda! Please let me know how the chicken turns out!!

  10. Carla

    Aug 30

    I made the ancho chilie pickled salsa and it gets better as the days go by. Thank you Patti!

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