Salsa Americana is what’s hot for the 4th of July

SalsaAmericana-Margaux Drake

There is so much fun to be had on the 4th of July; runs, parades, beaches, sunshine…and like our daughter says “Weekends and holidays aren’t a day off they’re a day ON!” I agree.  So I wanted to create something that is patriotic, honors the day, is quick to whip up and everyone will love so we can all return to our “day ON” activities with happy tummies.

Salsa Americana was born at a restaurant called Hot Tamale and the recipe was taught to me by Chef Rodrego Pierce who owned the eatery in East Grand Rapids, Michigan in the nineties.  After the restaurant closed, I begged him to come over and teach me a few of his staples because well, my family was experiencing serious withdrawal symptoms from his amazing cuisine.  He was always adamant that his food was Tex-Mex, and not south of the boarder.  He was a proud veteran and an American through and through.

His memory lives on in the food he created and the lives he touched while he was here.  This just may be the best salsa you’ve ever made and when you eat it, I ask that you raise a chip loaded with Salsa Americana, and say “Viva Rodrego!”


Happy Independence Day!

Salsa Americana
Makes 1 quart

10 Roma tomatoes, 5 halved and 5 quartered
3 Garlic cloves
1 White onion, medium sized cut into chunks
2 Jalapeños, seeded and cut into chunks
4 Green onions, cut into thirds
1 C Cilantro
1/2-1 C Tomato Juice, high quality
White pepper to taste
Sea salt to taste

For Flag Presentation:
1 Bag Blue corn chips
1 Square 6″X6″ glass container
20 Ounces Plant-based sour cream like Sour Supreme
20 2 Ounce cups, glass preferable

Step 1
Coat a 9”X13” baking dish with EVOO. Arrange the 5 halved Roma tomatoes (or 10 pieces total) cut side down in the baking dish and brush the tops with EVOO then sprinkle with a dash of white pepper and a pinch of sea salt.  Place the tomatoes under the broiler until the skins loosen, keeping a close eye as this will not take long.  When they are done, remove from the oven and let cool while moving on to step 2.

Step 2
Place the garlic, white onion, jalapeños and green onions into a food processor fitted with a chopping blade and pulse until minced.  Remove the contents of the food processor and place them in a large bowl.  Do not rinse the food processor bowl with water.  Next, fill the food processor bowl with cilantro and pulse until minced then add the cilantro to the large bowl with the other veggies.  Again, avoid rinsing the bowl.  Chop the 5 quartered tomatoes the same way by pulsing in the food processor and adding them to the large bowl and lastly repeat the process with the the roasted tomatoes.  This last step should have cleaned the food processor bowl nicely.

Step 3
Start by adding 1/2 cup of the tomato juice and add more until the desired salsa consistency is achieved.  Use white pepper and sea salt to adjust the flavor.

Step 4
Arrange the blue corn chips in a square container.  Spoon the Salsa Americana into 10 individual cups, wiping edges as you work.  Scoop the plant-based sour cream into a large resealable plastic bag.  Cut the tip off of one of the bottom corners of the bag, then squeeze the sour cream into 10 cups being careful not to get the sour cream on the sides of the cups.  Finishing it off with a swirl is a nice touch.  Keep the sour cream chilled until ready to use.  When ready to serve arrange the chips, salsa and sour cream in the shape of an American flag, per the photo above. Be creative with your container choices.  We used votive candle cups and a square vase.  Arrange the flag on a table, a cutting board or a tray.

Always taste the jalapeños to determine the heat factor before using, if they are mild leave some seeds in to boost up the heat.  Freeze any extra tomato juice in 1 C portions for future salsa making.  Double the recipe to share with friends and family.  This salsa is fresh and will only last about two days in the refrigerator.  Mix salsa with mashed avocado to make some kickin’ guacamole.

Wine pairing suggestion: Charles & Charles Rosé 2013, serve chilled.

All ingredients are available at D&W Fresh Market.