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 Shredded Mexican Beef and Salsas
Shredded Mexican Beef and Salsas

'Salsa' is the Spanish word for sauce. In southwestern cooking it refers to a relish or condiment, a mixture of chopped vegetables, fruits (usually tomatoes) and seasonings that may be cooked or uncooked, is usually not pureed and is served as an accompaniment to a dish. Salsas, once limited to the regions where southwestern and Mexican food is found, are everywhere in the United States.

Salsas, relishes, and chutneys can enliven even the dullest of dishes. It is rare to find any Texas style food without one of these accompaniments. Although salsas are Mexican in origin and relishes are a southern tradition, they have become equally popular. In Mexico, the main ingredients in salsa are onions, garlic, chiles, and tomatoes. Salsas are thicker and chunkier than picante sauces

Salsas can be fresh, cooked or bottled. Southwestern food lovers use them as garnishes, dips, condiments and even as side dishes. Salsas form a bridge of flavor and texture between the mild cheese of a quesadilla and its flour tortilla base, between the piquant beef in a taco and its corn wrap. In southern restaurants, salsa and tortilla chips are brought to the table as soon as customers are seated. Some variations such as red chile, green tomatillo and guacamole are offered. Salsas made at home often bear the signature of the cook who will adjust the balance of ingredients from mild to spicy, tangy or pungent or rich by adding avocado.

Due to an increasing awareness of nutritional issues, salsas have risen in popularity partly because they are low in cholesterol, fat, and calories and partly because they provide a great way to add depth and flavor to any dish or just that extra zip to a sauce.

The ever growing popularity of salsas has also widened its usage from a pre-meal dip with tortilla chips to a vegetable dip, a condiment served with fish and over eggs, a sauce over chicken or beef, a base for cooked sauces, try it over pizza or pasta, or shock your palate and pour over baked potatoes and French fries.

In fact, salsa has become the best selling condiment in North America recently pushing tomato ketchup out of the top-selling spotlight. We appear to be returning to a healthier way of eating i.e. legumes, grains, vegetables and organic produce of all kinds and in part the growing popularity of salsas is also due to an increasing awareness of nutritional issues.

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