We decided to observe Independence Day last week with a Mexican-American take on the traditional burger-and-salad fare: we opted for nachos with grilled, spiced beef, roasted corn-tomato-jalapeño salsa, torn CSA greens, and a lime-and-yogurt crema spread over blue corn tortillas.
It was a fabulous plate, and sourcing ingredients from our local Latino-owned market to make a dish that could not exist without the blending of culture that has always accompanied American immigration felt like an act of great patriotism.
Our favorite spice market, Penzeys, had a similar idea; on Friday they gave away gift boxes containing Latin American spices: Mexican Vanilla and their own spice blend for Salsa & Pico.
In gratitude, Clay brought home a large bag of other treats to play with, but our first objective was showcasing the gifts.
I am dreaming of Mexican Wedding Cookies; they will have to wait for the temperature to drop; we tucked the vanilla away to await that occasion. But the Salsa & Pico blend just cried out for freshness – and we obliged.
We snowed the spices liberally over a bowl containing a diced ripe mango, charred scallions, chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic scapes, torn cilantro, minced roasted hot pepper, and the juice and pulp of one ripe lime. A quick stir followed by fifteen minutes for the ingredients to get friendly yielded a bright, happy dish just bursting with the flavor of sunshine on a beach.
We served the salsa inside pulled pork burritos, but if left to my own devices I would have picked up the bowl and a spoon and called it dinner.