Salsa gives Super Bowl celebration extra kick

Pizza was last year. Chili the year before. And there was the year you did sub sandwiches.

Not bad, you're thinking to yourself.

Then reality sinks in: You have just days to pull something together.

Yes, all the big screens and comfy sofas in the world mean little if you don't dig up some sustenance for a Super Bowl viewing party.

Make it easy on yourself. Throw a Super Bowl burrito party, and let football fans wrap their own.

Just offer an assortment of fillings: grilled meat strips, cooked crumbled sausage, a chili-seasoned chicken stew, rice, beans, cheese and lots of veggies (avocado slices, lettuce, cilantro, onions, etc.). And those mammoth flour tortillas.

"Some people like rice and beans. You can put avocados in. You can make it vegetarian," said restaurateur Monica Greene of Monica's Aca y Alla in Dallas.

"You can make it as decadent as you want. You can put sour cream in it, chipotle mayo -- no one can make it like you."

Nor as big as we do these days, sometimes a size akin to a kiddie football.

Once upon a time, of course, a "true authentic Texas burrito," said Greene, was an 8-incher on a flour tortilla. No spinach tortillas or sun-dried tomato tortillas, thank you very much.

Now the 8-inch cylinder has grown from a side dish to a complete meal. "You don't need anything else," said Greene. "You don't need a plate."

But you do need salsa.

"This is the thing that's going to flavor your burrito," said Victor Escobedo who runs a pair of Papalote Mexican Grill restaurants and a salsa company in San Francisco with his brother, Miguel.

"Salsas marry everything together," he said. "This is where you want to really show off your ability to mix flavors."

Makes: About 2 cups

This simple version was created by Lisa Schumacher in the Tribune test kitchen. For a chipotle-pineapple salsa, omit the corn and add 3/4 to 1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple.

Ingredients

1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes with chipotle peppers, drained

1/2 white onion, diced

1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh, cooked or frozen, thawed

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Season with salt, if desired

Directions

Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Nutrition information: Per tablespoon: 13 calories, 3 percent of calories from fat, trace fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 3g carbohydrates, 0g protein, 58mg sodium, 0g fiber.