We got to see and sample so many great recipes on our recent trip down to California's Santa Maria Valley, but my favorite may have been this Santa Maria-style salsa recipe.
This recipe was demonstrated for me by Susan Righetti, (also known as Susie Q on her website, where she sells local artisan food products). She is an authority on the local cuisine of California's central coast, and hosted us for a fantastic day of cooking and eating.
In addition to this great salsa, she also made a batch of Santa Maria-style pinquito beans, and her husband Paul showed me the real way to do a barbecued tri-tip (on a custom-made barbecue pit in the middle of the house!) I will be posting both those videos as soon as I can.
Susan joked about the Santa Maria-style salsa being, "the ketchup of Santa Maria-style BBQ," since it's always served along side the area's famous barbecued beef.
We had some version of this sauce at just about every meal (including breakfast), and it really did make the smoky meat even more delicious. Some places make a smooth version that's used as a sauce, others make a very chunky style, as seen here, which is eaten more like a side dish salad.
She had a big beautiful bowl of ripe tomatoes which she could have used in this video, but she said that canned tomatoes also work, and since most of you won't have regular access to big beautiful bowls of ripe tomatoes, I had her use the canned ones in the demo.
Susan has a website called Susie Q's Brand where she sells a large variety of local Santa Maria food products, including the magical red oak wood chips. If you are interested in learning more, or want to check out her stuff, here is the link. Enjoy!
(this is for a half batch of the large bowl you see in the video - about 6 cups)
1 can 28-oz whole tomatoes
1 can 7-oz diced green chilies
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (may substitute garlic powder to taste)
2 tbsp chopped parsley (may also substitute or add fresh cilantro)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
*Note: Susie used a shake of her Santa Maria Seasoning, which I have broken down into salt, pepper, etc., here. You can see what's in her blend on the Susie Q's website.