Celebrate the 4th of July with this Red, White and Blue themed Berry Salsa!
Salsa is a popular food dish that has been around for centuries. Literally meaning “sauce” in Spanish, it’s roots can be traced all the way back to the Incas and Aztecs. Originally made with a combination of tomatoes, chili peppers and squash seeds, it was used as a compliment venison, turkey, lobster and fish. Nowadays, salsa is most popular condiment in the United States, even beating out ketchup! Because of it’s popularity, salsa making has come a long way from it’s humble Mexican roots. You are as just as likely to find a Mango, Black Bean or Corn based salsa next to the traditional tomato salsa at your local supermarket.
This is not your traditional salsa recipe! Instead of being spicy, this Berry Salsa is both savory and sweet. Made from fresh strawberries and blueberries marinated in a balsamic vinegar and cinnamon syrup, it is served chilled and is a fun dessert to try on a warm summer night. Dip into the Berry Salsa with pizzelle cookies and add a dollop of whipped cream on top to round out the flavors and create some real fireworks for your tastebuds!
Preparing the berries: Rinse fruit and check for any bruised or wilted berries that need to be removed. Measure out one cup of fresh blueberries and place in a large bowl. The strawberries will be measured after they are cut, so start by removing the tops. Chop the strawberries into pieces that are similar in size to the blueberries. If your strawberries are small, simply quarter. If they are larger, you will need to cut in half before quartering. Be careful not to cut the pieces too small- you want to create a chunky, not mushy, salsa! Once strawberries are cut, measure out one cup of chopped berries add to the blueberries already in your bowl.
To make the syrup: In a heavy bottom saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar with 3 tablespoons of organic raw sugar over medium heat. Bring liquid to a boil and whisk together until sugar has completely dissolved. Add the juice from half a lemon and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Reduce heat and let liquid simmer for approximately 12 minutes, stirring often, until vinegar reduces to a thick syrup. You will know sauce is ready when you pull your whisk through the liquid and it pulls away from the bottom of the pan and sticks together (see photo above). Remove from heat and let stand for a minute. If there are any bubbles floating around the edges of your mixture (it might look a bit like foam), use a spoon and simply skim off the bubbles before adding to the berries. The foam does not affect taste, it just doesn’t look as pretty.
Mixing your salsa: Pour the warm balsamic syrup over the fresh fruit. Gently stir together until all the berries are evenly covered. It is important to add the syrup while hot as the heat of the syrup will gently cook the fruit, releasing their natural sugars. Cover bowl and let mixture marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature then transfer to fridge for another hour and a half. Once it is completely chilled it is ready to serve.
Final Touches: Salsa is just not the same without chips to dip and since you are serving this as a dessert, you are going to want to use something sweet! Pizzelle Cookies are thin Italian waffle cookies that are traditionally flavored with vanilla, lemon or anise. While you can make your own, they are inexpensive and usually available supermarkets (you may need to ask). Because the cookies are large, I break into quarters to create “chips” for dipping. If you can not find pizzelles, don’t fret! Look for a vanilla based thin cookie that can be used for dipping. Lemon cookies also taste great!
Once your salsa is chilled, create a mini-dessert dessert bar. Lay out your pizzelle chips, a bowl of whipped cream and Berry Salsa along with plates, spoons and napkins. Enjoy!