I am currently in a love affair with my cast iron skillet, which is one of several reasons why this recipe for blackened chicken with pineapple salsa is in heavy rotation in my kitchen these days. First of all, I love the crispy, slightly charred taste of the chicken, which is flavored up with a mixture of sugar, spices and everything nice before it hits the piping hot skillet. And second, I love the heap of sweet pineapple salsa that you cover it with once it hits the place. Spicy, sweet and summery – this is definitely a winner, winner chicken dinner. Let’s make it!
I have two very important things to say before I get to the how-to on this recipe for spicy steak with corn salsa. The first is: RED ALERT: CORN SEASON IS ALMOST OVER! Which means I am digging out every recipe I own that calls for fresh corn and making it one more time before they turn the corn bin at our farm market completely over to pumpkins and apples. I know, I know, frozen corn….but it’s not the saaaaaame. And the second is this: Every time I make steak with a dry rub, I wonder why I don’t always make steak with a dry rub. It’s so easy, and it’s all the steak goodness with this rich, wonderful flavor grilled right into the outside of the steak. This recipe for spicy steak with corn salsa addresses both of these burning issues.
Before I get into the whys and wherefores of this ridiculously easy and delicious cheese and corn salsa, I wanted to explain myself. I meant to mention this before I left, but I missed posting over the last week or so because the Southern husband and I were helping our newly minted college graduate daughter move to her new apartment. More on that below, but as any of you who have ever packed and unpacked a moving box know, moving is EXHAUSTING. Which means that sometimes you might only have the strength to have chips and salsa for dinner. And if you are going to have chips and salsa for dinner, you might as well go all out and have this ready-in-5-minutes cheese and corn version!
I love getting fajitas in a restaurant. As a matter of fact, I like when ANYONE gets fajitas in a restaurant. The smoky, sizzling drama of it all – “Be careful!!” Very Hot Plate!!” – in combination with the spicy deliciousness of it all is just plain delicious in every way. However, the thought of recreating the smoky sizzling part at home seems like a direct invitation to my over-zealous smoke alarm to do its thing, and so I came up with a little less dramatic, still just as delicious version of fajitas…a version that bakes up in the oven and lets you scoop it right out of the baking dish into your tortilla. Bake and scoop fajitas!
This time of year I am ALL about using all the fresh local veggies I can get my mitts on. No ear of corn or local tomato or fresh sweet-smelling herb is safe around me, because once September starts it is use-it-or-lose-it time, fresh local veggie-wise. And one of the things I like making most of all is fresh salsa of all varieties. This particular version includes some roughly chopped shrimp, which not only gives it a nice twist, but in my book makes it totally acceptable to serve for supper. Who’s with me?
I do love a good taco. I do not like the crunchy shells that shatter on first bite though. I like the taste of them…it’s the shattering part that gets me. And yes, I know I can eat tacos with soft tortillas, but recently it occurred to me that good old everyday pasta would make an excellent stand-in for the taco shell…AND I would be able to eat it with a spoon. Somehow, things taste just a little bit better when a spoon is involved. Which is the convoluted way that my recipe for taco pasta was born!