It has been 20 years since a friend’s mom introduced me to lingonberries. They were glamorous and strange, even to those of us raised on Swedish meatballs and boiled potatoes, crispbread and herring. More compelling, the tiny tart berries were mixed into a jar of prepared salsa. Fruit in salsa! How intriguing.
Later I learned that Swedes love Mexican food, but have very few restaurant options and little to no access to classic ingredients. If you cannot take the Mexican ingredients to the Swede, I propose taking the Swede to the Mexican ingredients. Here is my riff on Lingonberry Salsa. For Swedish tacos spoon it over grilled pork or chicken, and corn tortillas. To make Scandinavian chips and dip, brush a light layer of olive oil on lefse rounds and cut into triangles, then crisp in a moderate oven (around 325 degrees, and keep a close eye on the lefse so it doesn’t burn). Salt lightly, cool on rack, and serve with Lingonberry Salsa. For Scandinavian nachos, layer lefse chips with sour cream, your legume of choice (I love black turtle beans flavored with lime, onion, cumin, and cilantro), avocado, and of course, Lingonberry Salsa.
You can also use the salsa for a quick marinade for pork loin or salmon. The sweetness of lingonberry preserves partially negates any chili pepper heat so don’t be afraid to turn up the capsaicin. Use whatever chili combination you can find such as jalapeno, banana, Anaheim, ancho, serrano, Poblano, habanero, and Thai. Think variety: color, size, heat, sweet, and spice.