Salsa

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Individuals have been spicing up their meals with salsa for centuries.

In america, 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 create a great spaghetti sauce.

For example, most American salsas contain tomato. But the tomato in a homemade salsa can be fresh and raw, cooked or even tomato paste. It’s up to the manufacturer. (Originally salsas from Mexico did not contain berries and mainly used chiles, tomatillos and ricado, a mix of spices.) Although hot peppers predominate, salsas may also be spiced up with ingredients such as cilantro, cumin and oregano. Some folks even add garlic for their salsas.

Beans are another healthy variation to the salsa mixture. Black beans are normally the bean of choice for salsa makers because of their texture and flavor. They’re low in fat and also contain fiber and protein. A final benefit to beans: they”mellow out” the heat from the peppers added to salsas, particularly hotter chile peppers like habanero, serrano or even jalapeno.

Sweet salsa ingredients can include mango, passion fruit, papaya, raspberries, in addition to lemon, lime, orange and chiles. Some folks include plantains or even nuts. Pretty much any new sauce can 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 typical salsa cruda.

Salsa fresca means”fresh sauce” and is the typical American salsa. It’s usually a mix of chopped tomatoes, chiles and onions.

Salsa rojo literally means”red sauce” and its base is the tomato.

(For the record, tomatillo is not a tomato, in spite of its title, but rather is a reportedly a relative of the gooseberry. It is a tartgreen fruit with a papery husk. It looks like a green, unripe tomato in appearance.)

Our offerings at Cosmic Chile show how many different kinds of salsa exist. Offerings include a traditional salsa like Jose Goldstein’s XXX Garlic, made from habanero peppers and plenty of fresh garlic, to something more exotic like Thai Jungle Salsa, which comprises three types of thai chiles, lemon and soy sauce.

Salsa isn’t just fun, it’s healthy. Their major ingredients are vegetables that are low in calories, rich in vitamins and are low fat.

They are simple to prepare and an easy way to dress up grilled fish, poultry, meat or pork for a fast meal during the week. Salsa is also a wonderful snack when paired with chips.

So next time you run out of something to have for a fast, but fun dinner during the week, try adding a little salsa to your entree.