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CHEF DU JOUR : Spicy-but-Not-Hot Salsa Is the Perfect Place to Take a Dip : Dunk Vegetables, Meat or Bread in Brazilian Concoction

March 11, 1993|MIKE SPENCER | Mike Spencer is a member of The Times Orange County Edition staff. and

The first of what seems like 90 dishes that's laid before you if you opt for the rodizio meal at Yolie's Brazilian Steakhouse in Irvine is salsa.

It comes with fresh vegetables, but it's guaranteed that before you finish, you'll be dipping everything (with the possible exception of the flan) in it--meats, breads, fried potatoes, whatever.

It's a simple salsa--not hot like the Mexican version, but extremely tasty, a mixture of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, celery, green onions, cilantro and onion swirled into a base of salad oil, vinegar and water.

"In Brazil, we eat it with everything, especially meats," says chef Zigan (Virgelio) Goltman. "And in the south of Brazil, where I come from, we have the best meats in the world, so naturally we're all very big meat-eaters."

At home, when cooking for himself or friends, Goltman says, his menus run parallel to the restaurant's: lots of beef, pork and lamb marinated for hours and barbecued on an open mesquite grill.

The one tip Goltman has for home production of the salsa is: "Make a lot of it; you'll be surprised at how quickly it goes."

BRAZILIAN SALSA

1 cup salad oil

1 cup vinegar

1 cup water

3 cups fresh parsley, chopped

2 cups tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup green pepper, finely chopped

1/2 cup celery, finely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1 cup green onion, chopped

Salt, pepper

Pour oil, vinegar and water into a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Chill overnight.

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