Salsa is sauce in Spanish. In English-speaking countries it usually refers to the sauces typical of Mexican cuisine known as salsa picante, particularly those used as dips. The dips are often tomato-based, although many are not, and they are typically piquant, ranging from mild to extremely hot.
The word salsa entered the English language from the Spanish salsa, which itself derives from the Latin meaning “salty” from sal (salt). The word “salary” comes from the same Latin root word. The Roman armies were paid with salt.
Picante sauce of the American type is often thinner in consistency than what is labeled as salsa. Picante is a Spanish adjective meaning “piquant”, which derives from “picar” (to sting), referring to the feeling caused by salsas on your tongue.
The condiment’s roots can be traced as far back as the Aztec civilization. You know it has to be good to still be on the menu.
This month we’re making a pineapple sauce to go with our crappie. Feel free to substitute mango for pineapple or mix the two proportionally. Both fruits will give you a sweet, spicy sauce that can be used as a topping for nachos or as a garnish on grilled chicken or grilled fish because of their complementary flavors. Here’s your mouth-watering recipe for crappie (either from the grill or your oven) topped with a sweet salsa.
8 fish fillets (4 ounces each) 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
4 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons lime juice, divided 1/8 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided Dash cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/8 teaspoon pepper
For salsa: In a small bowl, combine pineapple (and/or mango), green onions, green pepper, cilantro, 4 teaspoons lime juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt and cayenne. Refrigerate until serving.
For fish: Mix oil and remaining lime juice; drizzle over fillets. Sprinkle with pepper and remaining salt.
Grill or broil: Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, rub on grill rack to coat lightly. Grill fish, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from heat 2-3 minutes on each side or until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork. Serve with salsa.
As for making salsas, you can whip up many variations. Use your imagination and let it guide you to tastes not found in cookbooks.