People have been spicing up their meals with salsa for centuries.
In actuality, salsa, the condiment, not the dancing, has existed for centuries and can be traced back to the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas of present-day Mexico.
In the United States, salsa, which means”sauce” in Spanish, has outsold ketchup since the 1990’s. And there are just as many variants of salsa, if not more, since there are ways to make a good spaghetti sauce.
By way of example, many American salsas contain tomato. However, the tomato in a homemade salsa can be fresh and raw, cooked or even tomato paste. It is up to the manufacturer. (Initially salsas from Mexico did not contain berries and mainly used chiles, tomatillos and ricado, a blend of spices.) Although hot peppers predominate, salsas can also be spiced up with ingredients such as cilantro, cumin and oregano. Some people even add garlic for their salsas.
Beans are another healthy variation to the salsa mix. Black beans are normally the bean of choice for salsa makers due to their texture and flavor. They are low in fat and also contain fiber and protein. A last advantage to beans: they”mellow out” the heat from the peppers added to salsas, especially hotter chile peppers such as habanero, serrano or even jalapeno.
Sweet salsa ingredients can include cherry, passion fruit, papaya, raspberries, as well as lemon, lime, orange and chiles. Some folks include plantains or even nuts. Pretty much any fresh sauce could be a salsa.
Salsa cruda means uncooked and is made from finely chopped raw ingredients like raw tomato, hot chiles, peppers, onion and cilantro.
Picante means”hot and spicy,” and is usually just a thinner sauce than your normal salsa cruda.
It is usually a mixture of chopped tomatoes, chiles and onions.
Salsa verde means”green sauce” and it is typically made from tomatillos, which are green. (For the record, tomatillo is not a tomato, regardless of its name, but instead is a reportedly a relative of the gooseberry. It is a tartgreen fruit with a papery husk. It resembles a green, unripe tomato in appearance.)
Our offerings in Cosmic Chile reveal how many different kinds of salsa exist. Offerings include a traditional salsa like Jose Goldstein’s XXX Garlic, made out of habanero peppers and plenty of fresh garlic, to something more exotic such as Thai Jungle Salsa, which comprises three types of thai chiles, lemon and soy sauce.
Salsa is not only fun, it’s healthy.
They are easy to prepare and a simple way to dress up grilled chicken, fish, meat or pork for a quick meal during the week. Salsa is also a wonderful snack when paired with chips.
So the next time you run out of something to have for a quick, but fun dinner during the week, try adding a little salsa to your entree.