The origin of salsa dates back to the time of the Aztec, Mayan and Inca civilization. It was the Spaniards who first came across tomatoes, after they succeeded in taking over Mexico (1519-1521). This is when the history of salsa food began to take shape. Aztec lords started to make a mixture of tomatoes with chili peppers and ground squash seeds. They used it as a condiment, to be eaten alongside turkey, venison, lobster, and fish. It was Alonso de Molina who first gave the name ‘salsa’ to the mixture, in 1571.
In Texas, David and Margaret Pace were the ones who introduced salsa, with their picante sauce. La Victoria Foods introduced the first commercial taco sauce in US in 1952. It was this salsa that ended up giving Austin the reputation of the hot sauce capital of America.
But in Spanish, all sauces are salsa. Ketchup is “Salsa de Jitomate” (tomato sauce), Worchester Sauce is “Salsa Ingles” (English sauce), gravy is “salsa dorada” (golden sauce) or “salsa de carne” (meat sauce). And what the US calls salsa, in Mexico could be called “Salsa Casera” (home sauce), “Salsa Roja” (red sauce) or “Salsa Pico de Gallo” (rooster’s beak sauce). In Mexico, salsa traditionally is made with a mortar and pestle, although the blender is sometimes used today.Tomato Salsa
2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes (stems removed, finely diced)
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño chili pepper (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
1 Serrano chili pepper (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
Juice of one lime
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
oregano and or cumin to taste
Start with chopping up 2 medium sized fresh tomatoes. Cu the chilies.
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Taste.
If the chilies make the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato. If not hot enough, carefully add a few of the seeds from the chilies, or add some ground cumin.
Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.