I introduced you all to this salsa last May when I was celebrating Cinco de Mayo South Louisiana-style. Remember my Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Tostadas? This salsa was one of the garnishments. But since it’s finally spring and one of the sweetest signs of spring in the GNO (Greater New Orleans Area) is the appearance of fresh, Louisiana strawberries at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores, I thought it was only right to give this salsa its own time in the spotlight. Because besides being the perfect sidekick to shrimp tostadas, Ponchatoula Strawberry Salsa is also deliciously inviting served with a basket of tortilla chips. It’s also a bright accompaniment to any cheese course and is wonderful served alongside any type of grilled seafood, steak or chicken.
When it comes to pairing this sweet and spicy salsa with the right adult beverage, I suggest grabbing something that complements the strawberries. The first thing that comes to mind is Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager, a light beer made with the juice of real Louisiana strawberries. This springtime lager, which comes in at 4.20% ABV, is crisp and refreshing and goes down easy. Interestingly, the word harvest in the title refers to a special series of Abita brews that incorporate the finest Louisiana-grown ingredients, which in this case is the Louisiana strawberry. If strawberry beer is not your style or you’re itching for something a tad stronger, then how about a Ponchatoula Punch? This is a Ponchatoula strawberry-infused mint julep that the Southern Foodways Alliance just shared on their website in recognition of the Kentucky Derby and the SFA’s upcoming summer symposium in New Orleans. I could go for one of those right now!
Unit next time …
Ponchatoula Strawberry Salsa Recipe
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries (preferably Ponchatoula or Louisiana strawberries)
1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/3 cup finely chopped red onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Zest of one lime
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips or as a garnish for grilled seafood, steak or chicken. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.