Different Salsa Styles and How To Make Them

Name a better condiment than salsa. good wait Literally translated “sauce” from Spanish, salsa is the source of premium flavor in so many Mexican dishes and is essential to cuisines in Central and South America. Typically made with tomatoes, leeks and fresh herbs (like cilantro), salsa can vary widely in texture, flavor and style, all of which are interpreted and adapted regionally, often to pair well with local cuisine. And while excellent salsa by the jar isn’t hard to come by — it’s a staple in so many weeknight recipes — knowing how to make your own salsa is a delicious game-changer.

Whether drizzled over tacos, stacked high on a grilled fish, used as a dip for tortilla chips, or spread on a tostada, these are some of the most common salsas you need to know about to become a salsa fanatic.

What is Salsa Macha?

Native to Veracruz and Oaxaca, this salsa is now popular in many regions of Mexico. Similar to Chinese chili chips, salsa macha combines infused oil with crunchy, crunchy elements for levels of spiciness that range from a slight tongue-tickle to a big kick. “Salsa macha is made primarily from dried chillies with nuts and seeds,” says Asia Shabazz, chef de cuisine at New York’s Bar Tulix, a modern Mexican restaurant. According to Shabazz, salsa macha is typically enjoyed with meat, although it can be done on protein , starch or vegetables such as fried eggs, avocado and cheese drizzled.

Salsa macha recipes vary by region and chef, but technique is key. Start with a neutral oil like grapeseed oil and heat it in a pan. “For salsa macha, I recommend making sure the oil is at a good temperature,” notes Shabazz. Then you should add dried chillies, like ancho and chillies de arbol, seeds removed. Add some minced garlic, a crunchy item like peanuts or sunflower seeds, and garnish with sesame seeds. Once everything is fragrant, let cool and mix everything together. You get a tasty, infused paste that can be used to accentuate just about any dish. Can be stored in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to a month.

While it’s not quite salsa macha, take the essence of this recipe and make it herbaceous Really easyRecipe for fried herb salsa.

What is Salsa Verde?

“Salsa verde is a green salsa typically made with tomatillos, jalapeños or serranos, onions, garlic, and lime juice,” Shabazz explains. “This salsa can be made with raw or cooked ingredients, depending on what flavors you’re looking for. It’s incredibly versatile and adds so much fun to a dish.” Commonly drizzled over fish, tacos, meat, or even eaten as a dip, there are countless ways to make and enjoy salsa verde.

Whether you go the raw, cooked, charred, or roasted route, Shabazz recommends “getting the freshest produce you can get for the brightest salsa possible.” You can also mix and match raw and cooked ingredients—use roasted tomatillos for depth of flavor, but leave peppers and onions raw for their brightness. To make salsa verde, start with about a pound of fresh tomatillos, peeled and washed (to remove any stickiness). Quarter the tomatillos and an onion. Dice several green chillies and garlic. Toss them all in a blender with a handful of cilantro. Or cook the ingredients first, either under a grill on a griddle or on the stovetop, adding fresh cilantro just before tossing. With salt. You can also cook the salsa verde on the stovetop for a few minutes after mixing the raw ingredients to add more depth and flavor.

Avocado salsa verde, also called salsa de aguacate, is a variation of salsa verde that uses raw avocados for creaminess and sweetness. Add to your favorite salsa verde recipe, plus a splash of water to fluff up the salsa. Squirt in the juice of half a lime to get the light green color and add some sour zest.

To attempt Really easy fresh tomatillo salsa recipe for a quick twist on salsa verde or get more smokiness with our bubbled tomatillo salsa recipe.

What is salsa roja?

“Salsa Roja is a red salsa,” says Shabazz. “Salsa roja typically contains tomatoes, chilies, onions and garlic. It can be made with either cooked or raw ingredients.” Salsa roja is perhaps the most common type of salsa in the United States (see your supermarket’s chips and dip section), and varies widely in spiciness, texture, and ingredients. Classically, salsa roja is paired with tacos, meat, fish, or on its own as a dip, says Shabazz. Salsa Roja is a salsa you can really riff on, but for the perfect mix, Shabazz suggests “finding the right balance between tomatoes and chilies.”

For a quick salsa roja, combine a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, a jalapeño pepper (seeded if you want a less spicy salsa), a handful of cilantro, plus some peeled garlic, diced onions, and a pinch of salt in a blender or a food processor. Blend with fresh cilantro until smooth, about 30 seconds. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour to allow the flavors to meld and serve as a dressing or dip. Again, the mixed salsa can be cooked, or a different type of tomato, such as fresh tomatoes or grilled and charred tomatoes, can be used to change up the flavor.

What is pico de gallo?

Literally translated as “cock’s beak” in English, pico de gallo is a style of salsa that has its origins in Aztec cuisine and is thought to be eaten with pinched fingers, resembling its namesake. Now it’s a raw salsa seen throughout Mexico and commonly used in Americanized Mexican cuisine, e.g. B. filled with Cali-Mex burritos and scattered on plates with Tex-Mex nachos. Also referred to as “pico” and sometimes just “fresh salsa,” pico de gallo is a staple throughout Latin America.

“Pico de gallo is a fresh salsa that typically includes tomatoes, onions, serrano, and cilantro,” says Shabazz. “What sets pico de gallo apart from other styles of salsa is that all the ingredients are chopped, not mixed or mashed.” Typically pico de gallo is enjoyed as a topping. “It adds freshness and extra texture,” adds Shabazz. Like most salsas, pico de gallo makes for a nice dip.

“For this dish, have a nice sharp knife and try to get the best tomatoes you can find,” Shabazz recommends.

To attempt Really easy Pico de gallo recipe that mixes freshly chopped plum tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, lime juice and jalapeño for the perfect salsa. For another riff, try our easy fresh mild salsa recipe that takes just minutes to make and lasts for days.

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