Winning Chef Shares Tasty SweeTango Salsa Recipe

Ron Bohnert
Chef Ron Bohnert

He’s known as “Chef Ron” and he prepares a mean herring dish.

Ron Bohnert of Danny’s Bar and Grill at Stoneridge Golf Club in Stillwater, Minn., added more hardware to his growing collection of cooking awards this week — and our very own SweeTango played a supporting role in his winning creation.

Chef Ron competed Nov. 1 in the “Salute to Lake Superior’s Sustainable Fisheries” cook-off, an event hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Sea Grant Program.

The event aimed to show off the possibilities and promise of Lake Superior fish. Nine chefs took part, but no one wowed the judges as well as Chef Ron.

His “Lake Superior Bluefin Herring” featured a black pepper potato encrusted entrée dressed with caviar créme fraiche. It was served with a fennel and arugula slaw, plus a SweeTango apple and cranberry salsa.

Chef Ron said he hadn’t heard of SweeTango apples until this summer, when he came across them at a grocery store.

“I bought six of them and I got into my truck and took a bite of one,” he said. “I had to get out of my truck because the juice was running down my chin. The taste was just great.”

He said SweeTango was a natural choice for his herring dish because of the apple’s ties to Minnesota. (SweeTango was developed at the University of Minnesota.)

Lead judge Don Miller, executive chef at the University of Notre Dame, praised Chef Ron’s creation.

“Chef Ron’s entrée was phenomenal,” Miller said in a press release from the University of Minnesota. “He really had a command of the fish.”

Chef Ron, who took home a first-prize of $1,000, said he hopes the competition raises awareness about Lake Superior herring.

“When you mention herring, people think of the stuff in the jar,” he said. “But it’s very much like Lake Superior whitefish. It’s very light, flaky and sweet-tasting.”

Chef Ron was kind enough to share his SweeTango-cranberry recipe with us. So here it is:

SweeTango Apple and Cranberry Salsa
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/3 cup SweeTango apple (medium diced with peel on)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons chardonnay
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon jalapeño(minced, with seeds)
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a small sauce pan, add vinegar, apple, cranberries and wine. Over medium heat, cook until the fresh cranberries burst. Add remaining ingredients and reduce heat. Best served at room temperature or slightly chilled.