Colombian Salpicón – Fruit Medley
Honestly, I don’t remember my first encounter with Salpicón being in Colombia. Perhaps my earliest memory of this treat is later in my teens, here in NYC. Making Salpicón at home in Queens in the late 80’s was a major culinary accomplishment.The majority of Latin American ingredients were not easily available, if at all !! Things have dramatically changed since then and the most common ingredients used in Colombian cuisine can now be found not only in specialty Latin American stores, but also in many supermarkets, bodegas and the like in the five boroughs.
But …. what is exactly Salpicon ? According to The Food Lover’s Companion “ a French term describing cooked, diced ingredients bound with a sauce (for savory ingredients) or syrup or cream (for fruit mixtures) and used for for fillings or garnishes …….” That is exactly what Colombian Salpicón is, diced tropical fruit bound with a sweet and cold carbonated beverage or fruit juice and topped with condensed milk or ice cream!!! How sinful is that !
Like many other Colombian dishes there are many versions of this drink, such as Salpicón de Baudilia from el Cauca ; which includes pineapple,lulo,papaya,soursop,piñuela,blackberry of Castilla and shaved ice.
This version is my mother’s recipe and it’s the most commonly served by the local street vendors in Medellin. It’s a combination of equal amounts of apples, bananas, oranges ,papaya and pineapple in a broth of Popular or Colombiana ( (both Colombian sodas ) and finally topped with either condensed milk or vanilla ice cream. My mother prefers to use Popular in her recipe, but you will find it difficult to obtain even in the food Mecca of Queens. Feel free to use Colombiana, any orange flavored soda such as Fanta or orange juice.
A couple of tips to a foolproof Salpicón :
Always use fresh fruit that is fully ripe, this is especially true for pineapples, a pineapple that is not fully ripe will ruin your Salpicón.
The same holds true for the oranges, you want them to add sweetness not bitterness. In order to avoid such bitterness make sure to only use Navel oranges, dice them so that there is no pith left behind and add them at the end to your Salpicón.