The salsa you use as a garnish or side with your Tex Mex dishes can make or break that dish.
Salsa first appeared within the Inca culture and made its way to the Mayans and Aztecs. Spaniards’ first encounters with tomatoes (the main ingredient of salsa) took place after Spain’s conquest of Mexico (1519-1521). They also first came into contact with the old Inca combination of combining tomatoes with ground squash seeds and chili peppers, eating the mixture mainly as a condiment eaten with lobster, fish, turkey, and venison. Alonso de Molina is said to have given this combination the name of salsa in 1571.
New Orleans’ manufacturer Charles E. Erath started putting out jars of salsa (which he called Extract of Louisiana Pepper, Red Hot Creole Peppersauce) in 1916 and a year later, Los Angeles’ La Victoria Foods started selling Salsa Brava
Henry Tanklage, founder of La Victoria Sales Company (created specifically to market a new salsa line, named La Victoria), introduced the first salsa hot sauces in the U.S. in 1941. He created red and green taco and enchilada sauces
Salsa sauce sales took off in a big way between 1985 and 1990, growing by 79 percent: Americans love their salsa.
A great salsa starts with fresh tomatoes, making the garnish/salad a very healthy addition to a Tex Mex meal.
Salsa is fairly easy to make yourself. Here’s one of our favorite recipes (makes five cups):
You’ll need 3 cups of chopped tomatoes, ½ cup chopped green bell pepper, 1 cup of diced onion, ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 4 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeno pepper (including the seeds), ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and serve.
We love salsa here at Mattito’s. I you love it as much as we do, we urge you to find a Mattito’s location near you and sample some yourself!
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