By Heidi Lewis
Praise the salsa and pass some please! Salsa, as in a combination of chilies, spices, and fruits such as tomatoes, tomatillos, or mangos has graced tables across The Americas since the time of the Incas and the Aztecs. Food market analysts report that salsa has surpassed ketchup in the modern North American grocery cart. But those numbers don’t even count the fresh salsa being made at home. Salsa comes in unlimited variations. It makes everything from tortilla chips and eggs to meat and fish taste better. Plus, its great to say, as discussed in a Seinfeld episode:
GEORGE: "Salsa is now the number one condiment in America."
JERRY: "You know why? Because people like to say salsa. "Excuse me, do you have any salsa?" "We need more salsa." "Where is the salsa? No salsa?"
Tomatilos are the main contributor to green salsa, or Salsa Verde. Tomatillos, aka Mexican Husk Tomatoes. These little gems look gift wrapped in their signature husks. Tomatillos have been a part of South American cuisines since the Aztecs cultivated the veggie around 800 BC. The Aztec root word for tomato and tomatillo was tomati meaning "round and plump."
This heirloom has gradually made its way North and is now grown locally.
In the Red Light-Green Light game at the condiment table, Salsa Verde is often the milder one, but it can also be made piquant with hot chilies.
Roasted tomatillos add a lot of body and flavor to sauces, sautés, and stews. Since tomatillos’ flavor leans toward the fruity side, it pares well with lime or lemon tastes. One little tomatillo is only 11 calories, yet contains 91 mg of Potassium, 4mg Vitamin C, and is high in Calcium and Folic Acid. ¿Que bueno, no?