This is a combination review and a nice, easy summer relish tray recipe.
I need to share with you that Ernie’s Epic Foods of Richmond Virginia (www.erniesepicfood.com) provided me with a complimentary (no charge) sampler pack of their salsa products. They did not compensate me or ask me to review or in any way endorse their product. My opinions are my own, personal opinions… Ditto for the opinions of others that also sampled the product that I may pass along in the course of this post.
That said, the following picture is roughly how the product appeared after I opened the package when it was delivered. However, I unwrapped the contents and composed the picture a bit so you could see everything in the box. The contents were well packed and delivered in good condition. The product jars were clean, well sealed and did not leak. I saw no evidence of seepage around the lids.
In the following picture, I’ve staged the products I received. The jars are all attractively labeled and the labels are easily readable.
After I put together the relish tray and before my family devoured all the contents, here’s what it looked like. I made a deviled egg concoction using Ernie’s Chesapeake Bay Shrimp Salsa to moisten the mashed egg yolks. My husband said that he liked the eggs a lot.
In case you’ve noticed the jars appear almost empty, that’s because this picture was taken after the 2nd round of taste testing. At this tasting we were not using chips at all, although we had used some at an earlier test.
The first thing I noticed about Ernie’s Salsas, besides being gluten-free, was the high quality of the ingredients used, the short list of ingredients and the variety of flavors.
Ernie sent me five flavors to taste: Gourmet Red, Hawaiian Pineapple Heat, Chesapeake Bay Shrimp, Perfect Peach, and Black Bean and Corn.
The classic flavor, Gourmet Red, would be welcome in any locale, I think. Geographically speaking the other flavors struck me as speaking of places as diverse as from the East coast – Chesapeake – to the Hawaiian islands, with stops in between for some Southern peaches and for Southwestern black beans and corn.
We tasted some of each flavor plain, and then also with cucumber slices, pepper strips, celery and carrot sticks, and also with some chips.
Personally I liked the Gourmet Red for plain dipping; it has a rich, smoky tomato flavor with mild heat. Some of the testers found it a little too sweet and tomato-y for their taste.
I found the Chesapeake Bay Shrimp flavor good, too, highlighted by the addition of shrimp that makes for an unusual flavor and chunkiness. My husband liked it the best of the five while two other testers didn’t care for the spice in it.
I particularly enjoyed the sweet heat of the Perfect Peach flavor with chips. Peaches are my favorite fruit, after all. This salsa would probably also go well with sliced fruit or with some tangy cheese, especially for those who likes the degree of sweetness in it.
The Hawaiian Pineapple Heat made me wish I also had some ham hot off the grill to enjoy with it. One of the other testers thought it had too much heat for the pineapple flavor.
The Black Bean and Corn was chunky and smoky and reminded me again of how much I like Southwestern cooking with its influence from south of the border. It was a little sweet for a couple of the testers.
You’ll Relish This Summer Relish Tray Made With Ernie’s Salsas
- Several jars of salsa (I used five for this tasting from Ernie’s Salsa)
- 6 hard cooked eggs
- ½ cup chunky salsa, or more as needed (the chunkier the salsa, the more you’ll need to moisten the yolks)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 Celery stalks
- 6 Carrots
- 2 Large Green Peppers
- 2 Large Cucumbers
Cut the hard cooked, chilled eggs in half and remove the yolks to a small bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork (or a masher if you’re doing a whole lot of eggs). Stir in the salsa until smooth; add more as needed to moisten the yolks enough to stick together well. Spoon the mixture back into the egg halves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Chill until served.
Wash, pare, trim and slice the vegetables you’ve chosen to use. Arrange in relish tray and chill until served.
These are optional, of course, but they’re usually good with salsa, so if you want some, set them out. I like simple brown rice chips to complement instead of compete with the different flavors of the salsas, but use your favorite chips or crackers.
When all is ready, serve.
I’ve entered this gluten-free recipe here:
Table for Seven’s Share Your Stuff Tuesdays
The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Real Food, Allergy Free’s Allergy Free Wednesdays
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage’s Full Plate Thursdays
Rattlebridge Farm’s Foodie Friday