Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Episode 7: The Kitchen Bitch Scratches Her Salsa Itch

Again. And someone else must be scratching theirs too, cuz it turns out salsa has surpassed ketchup as America's favorite condiment. Probably a good thing, considering all the sugar in ketchup. Anyway, I was reading a bit about salsa…

Chiles were first domesticated in Latin America between 5200 BC & 3400 BC. In 1494, a guy by the name of Dr. Diego Álvarez Chanca brought the first chiles to Spain. Not a whole lot is known about the good doctor…but we know this: Isabella & Ferdinand appointed him to tag along with a certain land-stealing slave trader on his second voyage to the New World in 1493. By 1807, the first bottled hot sauces, made with cayenne peppers, appeared in Massachusetts. In 1868, our good friend Mr. McIlhenny bottled his first 350 bottles of Tabasco sauce down in Louisiana. In 1947, David & Margaret Pace began manufacturing their Picante Sauce in Texas. By the 1980s, different salsas were popping up all over the country, from California to New England. In 1994, Pace (by now the number one salsa manufacturer) sells out to Campbell's Soup Company for an unbelievable $1.1 billion. And topping them, Pillsbury announced it was buying Pet Foods (those are the people that make Old El Paso brand) for $2.6 billion. Together, the two companies control just about half the market for Mexican sauces. And by 2000, more households buy salsa than ketchup.

Not doing a traditional salsa, really. (And in my head, I can hear my friend Javier grumbling – with love, of course - about gringos messing with the food of his heritage LOL) It's a corn salsa recipe I found awhile ago in a grocery store ad. It was great with some pork & Monterey Jack on tacos. It would be yummy with chicken or fish too.

  • 1 ½ cups corn, lightly cooked (I used frozen corn, but grilled corn would be amazing to use in the summer!)
  • 1 cup each: chopped tomatoes, orange bell pepper & red onion
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus the lime zest
  • 1 – 1 ½ teaspoons honey (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley **
  • 12 drops green Tabasco (to taste, or 1 jalapeño, finely chopped)
  • ½ teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder & red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon each: ground cumin & cayenne
  • Salt, to taste

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl & stir well. Serves 4-6.

** The original recipe called for a tablespoon of fresh cilantro. Not a big fan of cilantro…tastes like what I imagine dirty dish water would taste like…so I used the parsley I had in my spice rack.


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