Thursday, September 10, 2009

Susie Q's Santa Maria-Style Salsa (You can call it the ketchup of Santa Maria-style BBQ, but please don't)

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.

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.


Anonymous said...

Two questions.

First, I always wash canned green chilies in a strainer before using, as I find them too salty. Do you think this will wash away too much flavor, or is that OK?

Second, as a chef, does it scare you when you see experienced chefs holding food, as she did, with her fingers across it? I have to admit that, while I was interested in their salsa, having much more experience with a pico de gallo style salsa, I sorta cringed as she was chopping, CERTAIN that the next thing I saw was going to be blood.

Chef John said...

no, sometimes I cut like that myself. The more experience you have (she chopped that sauce a thousand times) the more lax you can be with the technique. I don't think she was in much danger.

I've never rinsed the chilies and don't think I would. Just taste for salt at the end.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like with, a little more of this, and some of that, it could be a great bowl of gazpacho!

Orcutt said...

Is it now safe to call you a Santa Maria super fan?

averagebetty said...

Mmm! I am going to try a big batch of this over the weekend!

Chef John said...

i think you should (but i bet you spice it up)

btw, I hope the "good news" you tweeted about was what I think it was!

Anonymous said...

Well heck, I can do that!

rosemary said...

me too!

Alec006 said...

can I use it as a pizza sauce?

Healthy and Homemade said...

Ooooooo I'm gonna try making salsa like that! It will beat the Pace brand my hubby buys in bulk =/

Cowboy Biff said...

I love the Far Western Steak House and look forward to whipping up a batch of this delicious salsa! :) It is far superior to any salsa in a jar or a can!

Chef John, any idea as to how long the salsa will last in the refridgerator?

Chef John said...

like a day or two. enjoy!