by Buck Reed


The origins of salsa are straight forward. The sauce has its start dating back to the time of the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas who made a cold sauce with tomatoes peppers and herbs to eat with their daily meals and snacks. The dance gets its start in Cuba in the 40’s. We will be discussing the sauce.

Salsa is primarily made with:

Tomatoes – Either fresh or canned are acceptable choices. You can chop them up and even puree them or a combination of both if you choose. Tomato or V8 juice can be added to give it an extra kick. Also if you prefer Tomatillos can be used if you want a different flavor. And, since there are no rules you can do a combination of the two….no one is going to jail.

Peppers – again fresh or canned is acceptable and every pepper on the Scoville Table is acceptable. Deciding what peppers you use and whether you decide to add the seeds or not will decide how hot your salsa will be. Roasting your peppers can also add a nice flavor to your salsa.

Onions – fresh onions or a short sauté of chopped onions will work with your dish. Scallions will work if you are not keeping your salsa too long.

Other ingredients – Fruits work well in salsa and can add a nice finish to most dishes. Topping the list might be Mango or Pineapple but again no rules here, you should feel free to experiment. Also, vegetables such as Cucumber, Radish, Celery or most any you can imagine (I am thinking chopped Olives or Artichokes here}.

Flavoring your salsa is fairly easy. Naturally you can add hot sauce to add heat or lemon juice to add a tang to your finished salsa. Herbs and spices might include the old standbys of Cumin, Chile Powder, Oregano and Cilantro, but you might want to consider a good Cajun Spice or even Old Bay.

One of the best parts about salsa is you can make it ahead of time for when you are having guests over. Naturally, like most foods salsa can go bad and should be kept refrigerated in a covered container. If you have a product that looks and smells bad bear in mind it should look and smell fresh.

Getting rid of it before it goes bad is fairly easy, as salsa is incredibly versatile. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box here.

Almost any sandwich could and does benefit from a spread of salsa on it. One of my favorites is on an egg sandwich any time of the day. Also left over pot roast can be Barbacoa-ized with an addition of salsa and served on bread.

A fast and easy enchiladas sauce can be made with V8 juice and salsa. Just roll your tortillas with whatever leftover you have and you got dinner in the oven.

Try making a breakfast burrito with pancakes. Just roll up with cheese  and salsa and if you are careful you got breakfast on the go, Another idea is waffle nachos. Chop up your hot waffles and cover with salsa and whatever else you have to make nachos. Forget the maple syrup.

Grilled seafood, steak, and chicken can always be paired with fresh salsa to bring a little zing to your dishes from the flame gods

Whether you make it yourself or use the store-bought jarred stuff, you really shouldn’t have a problem using up salsa. It’s so good!

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