I have had this product, the Quierras Mas Mexican Relish, sitting on my shelf in the fridge for a while now. Every once in a while, it caught my eye and I wondered, “How the heck am I going to use this?” Then, I’ve grabbed what I originally opened the fridge to get and promptly forgot about it for another week. Well, after a few weeks of doing that, I forced myself to really come up with some ideas.
Sadly, I drew a blank. For now, let’s take a look at this stuff and see what we have:
Ingredients: water, vinegar, onions, salt, carrots, jalapenos, sesame oil and spices
It really does look a whole lot more like a jar of pickled vegetables than it does what most of us consider a relish. Most relishes consumed in North America are pickle relishes, and have that pickled cucumber base to them. Since this lacks that, this could never be compared to one of those. The fine folks at Wikipedia define a relish as:
A relish is a cooked pickled, chopped vegetable or fruit food item which is typically used as a condiment. The item generally consists of discernible vegetable or fruit pieces in a sauce, although the sauce is subordinate in character to the vegetable or fruit pieces. It might consist of a single type of vegetable or fruit, or a combination of these. These fruits or vegetables might be coarsely or finely chopped, but generally a relish is not as smooth as a sauce-type condiment, such as ketchup. The overall taste sensation might be sweet or savory, hot or mild, but it is always a strong flavor that complements or adds to the primary food item with which it is served.
This product came with a list of four recipe suggestions, so that was going to be the inspiration for my modest cooking attempt. I say when in doubt, keep it simple. For me, simple is a grilled cheese sandwich. So, I gathered all the basics I would need: pepper jack cheese, bread, butter, and a little of this Mexican relish.
Making it into the sandwich we all know and love, I gave each side a light coating of spreadable butter and warmed up my skillet. About 3 minutes on each side on medium-high heat was plenty, and out from my skillet emerged one Mexican relish grilled cheese sandwich.
Admittedly, this looked pretty darn good. Sliced in half for the viewing public, I will now give my official comments on taste and such.
Taste: Right out of the jar, a few things were pretty obvious. For one, this is not your typical relish. Good idea in terms of combination of the ingredients…onions, carrots, jalapenos. However, the taste was a little off-putting because of the amount of vinegar and salt in the mixture. This didn’t make it an unredeemable product, but it did tell me that it was not likely that I would be munching on it right out of the jar.
In my grilled cheese sandwich, it was decent. Admittedly, carrots are not one of my favorite veggies and would like to have seen those cut into smaller pieces, but the dairy cut back on the salinity of
the relish a little and that helped a lot. In fact, any sort of dish with either potent flavors (such as ethnic foods, Mexican included) or a high amount of dairy product like cheese would be the best usage for this product in that it would help its balance of taste.
Overall recommendation: This product has some potential, and there are a few recommendations I would make. Firstly, tone down the salt and vinegar a little. Either one alone would be sufficient, but the two together (in the amounts that are used) make it a little too potent for widespread usage. Secondly, if this indeed is meant to be used as a relish, I would suggest either coarsely or finely chopping the ingredients down to smaller (and more spreadable) portions. Lastly, if the taste profile will remain in its current form, this relish might benefit from a touch of something sweet to help offset the potency of the acidity of the mixture. This product has good intentions, but it could benefit from a few tweaks to make it more appealing to the masses. Enjoy!