Author Topic: What makes something "salsa"?  (Read 4047 times)

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Ms_Cellany

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What makes something "salsa"?
« on: August 02, 2011, 06:22:09 PM »
After my Pampered Chef experience, I've become hooked on their mango salsa recipe that was demo'd there: mango, jicama, red onion, fresh jalapeno and salt/cumin/etc.

I recently told someone it's the first thing I've made that I like equally well on fish or on ice cream.

The Sweetie posed a puzzler for me, though: "What makes something salsa? Tomatoes? The fact that there's a jalapeno in it?"

I have no good answer, beyond the semantics of "salsa" being Spanish for "sauce."

Help?
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WillyNilly

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Re: What makes something "salsa"?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2011, 06:31:31 PM »
I think you answered your own question with the definition of salsa being sauce.

IMO chunky, raw and oniony/peppery make something salsa. But that's just my opinion. I've made plum-scotch bonnet salsa (excellent over grilled pork chops), watermelon-red onion-jalepeno salsa (good on fish) andtruth be told last night part of my dinner was a diced green pepper, diced onion and several splashes of hot sauce mixed into what I called "salsa" that I ate with tortilla chips.

Judah

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Re: What makes something "salsa"?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2011, 06:36:07 PM »
I have no good answer, beyond the semantics of "salsa" being Spanish for "sauce."

That's your answer right there. It's kind of like asking what makes pesto.  Pesto is a sauce made by pounding (originally, now most people use a food processor) the ingredients into a paste. Pesto alla genovese is the type we usually think of, though. 

So, salsa is a sauce, but the salsa we usually associate with the word is tomato and onion based.
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Rivaini

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Re: What makes something "salsa"?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2011, 07:47:48 PM »
I thought this was a really interesting question, and while reading your description of salsa I started wondering... hey, that sounds like a chutney to me. So what's the difference between salsa and chutney then, eh?

So I googled it...

Quote
"Salsa" means 'sauce' in Spanish. "Chutney" means 'sauce' in Hindi. That's basically the difference.

LOL! Today I learned.  :)
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JoanOfArc

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Re: What makes something "salsa"?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2011, 08:11:42 PM »
I grew up with salsa= a spicy tomato or tomatillo based condiment.  It is generally smoother than pico de gallo, which is chunky chopped tomato, onion, garlic and jalapenos. Personally, I assume that salsa will contain tomatos or tomatillos, onion, garlic and a source of heat.
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Zilla

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Re: What makes something "salsa"?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2011, 08:46:14 PM »
To me Salsa is a fresh diced/chopped veggies/fruit.


Chutney would be cooked "salsa". (if it has similar ingredients to the salsa, ie mango etc)


And for me, salsa is smoother than pico de gallo.  Salsa has juice/sauce in it while pico de gallo is "dry".

blarg314

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Re: What makes something "salsa"?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2011, 10:43:30 PM »

Basically, I think chutney and salsa just come from different languages.  It's not just a matter of being cooked, because I have had cooked salsas before. Salsa has been taken over as a much more widely used word, though.

Usually, if I *just* hear the word salsa, I'll assume that it's a Mexican derived dip that contains some combination of tomatoes and/or tomatillos, onions, hot peppers, lime juice and salt as the main ingredients, the same way if you just say "pesto" I'll assume an Italian paste of basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese. If you add qualifiers, though, the varieties can expand widely.


Rohanna

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Re: What makes something "salsa"?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2011, 10:46:11 PM »
I would expect salsa to contain some variation on tomatoes, onions and pepper- if it was primarily fruit then I'd expect it to be listed as a "fruit salsa" or "X salsa" (like "mango salsa").
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Acadianna

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Re: What makes something "salsa"?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2011, 01:33:23 AM »
I believe salsa is generally cooked (at least, that's how we make it), while pico de gallo isn't.  The cooking helps make the salsa more of a liquidy sauce.

Thipu1

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Re: What makes something "salsa"?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2011, 11:54:02 AM »
In my experience, the classic salsa is Pica de Gallo.  This is made from all raw ingredients that include tomato, onion, garlic, jalapeno, lime, salt and cilantro.

Chutney is a very different creature.  Chutney isn't really Indian.  It's a cooked relish intended to make hot curries more palatable to Western diners.

I have a recipe for Mango Salsa that substitutes mango for the tomato.  It also adds a bit of olive oil and a sweet red pepper.       

Mikayla

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Re: What makes something "salsa"?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2011, 12:51:09 PM »
I always thought salsa was a bottle of Pace that you put on tortilla chips.  Then I got a Caribbean cookbook and learned otherwise.  At least in that part of the world, it seems to be any combo of chopped fruits and/or veggies, with at least a couple spices like cilantro, etc.  One of my favorite recipes from this book is a corn and black bean salsa. 

hyzenthlay

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Re: What makes something "salsa"?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2011, 05:53:35 PM »
I believe salsa is generally cooked (at least, that's how we make it), while pico de gallo isn't.  The cooking helps make the salsa more of a liquidy sauce.

Pico de gallo is a form of salsa, is usually spicy and should be uncooked and chunky.

But if you were to blend your pico de gallo to get a smoother sauce most people here is New Mexico would just call it salsa.