American Fusion food builds on our rich culinary traditions from all over the world. I developed this recipe for a catering client on the West Coast and it has been a hit wherever I make it. This twist on the traditional Latin condiment is delicious with fried wontons as an hors d’oeuvre or on seared fish, poached chicken, grilled beef, steamed rice, risotto or as a cold noodle salad. You might want to grill some fresh Portobello mushrooms, then chop them and add them as well. If you have leftover sautéed mushrooms, include them also. The more variety the better!
• 2 cups water
• 1 ½ cups mushrooms, dried shiitakes
• 4 oz. mushrooms, fresh (any variety you can find, the more variety the better!)
• 12 oz. tomatoes, grape, small diced
• 2 ea. scallion, thinly sliced on an angle
• ½ ea. small red bell pepper, small diced
• ½ ea. jalapeno, halved and seeds removed.
• 3 Tbsp. cilantro, rough chop
• 2 tsp. basil, rough chop
• 1 ½ tsp. mint, rough chop
• 1 oz. soy sauce or tamari
• 2-3 Tbsp. pickled ginger, thinly sliced
• 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
• 2 ea. fresh lime
• 1 package wonton wrappers
• 8 oz. oil, vegetable or peanut
• 2 oz. peanuts, dry roasted
• 1 oz. fresh enoki mushrooms
Bring water to a boil and pour over dried mushrooms to rehydrate. Set aside for an hour.
Drain mushrooms, remove stems and small dice. (Save this flavorful liquid and use in a mushroom sauce or mushroom soup!)
Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate to chill.
Heat oil over medium high heat until you see slight ribboning at the bottom of the pot. Carefully add a few wonton wrappers one at a time and turn with tongs to light brown color. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Garnish salsa and serve with crispy wontons.
Manda Hudak is the savory chef instructor at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com.