SPICING UP THE LARDER WITH TANGY SAUCE

101314 linares sauceLinares Grocery on Monmouth Street sells squirt bottles of the chamoy sauce found in Mexican restaurants. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

LARDER-270_100414On a recent culinary tour of Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank with our friend and guide, David Prown, PieHole discovered a little secret: some of those big flavors you come across in Mexican restaurants can be found in the bodegas along Shrewsbury Avenue.

Linares Grocery owner Alfredo Linares showed us an eyecatching fruit salad: a pineapple shell filled with sliced peaches and pineapple, and then covered with chamoy dipping sauce. Tangy, slightly sweet, slightly sour, chamoy sauce is sold in a squirt bottle like ketchup or srircha, but this condiment is made from fruit pulp, usually apricot, lime, and spices.

101314 linares PrownDavid Prown polishing off an elote loco. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

Traditionally, Chamoy sauce is served as a dip for fruit or corn. At $2.69 a bottle, it is worth a try to spice up your otherwise monotonous pantry choices.

Prown, owner of Prown’s Home Improvement and an advocate for the kids of Red Bank, wanted us to taste what he calls “elote loco,” or “crazy corn.” An ear of corn is boiled, smeared all over with mayonaise, then covered in cotija cheese and served on a stick. Popular as street food in Central America, it’s often sprinkled with chili powder.

Linares suggested that we try it with chamoy sauce instead. It was delicious, and we both ate way more than we intended. At $2 for an ear of corn, this is a wonderful snack, and you can ask that yours be spritzed with chamoy sauce instead of the hot chili powder. I’ll bet my PieHole reputation that this condiment is going to become a hot item this year.