The Art of Salsa

Salsa – it’s a finicky thing. Store bought is rubbish. Never hot enough.

Or maybe it’s hot, but fermented and weird. Or maybe it’s too chunky. How about too liquidy? At the end of the day, salsa is very much a personal experience. It’s about finding yourself, a unique journey into your own psyche. One discovers their own unique likes and dislikes, and can create something personally suited to them. Spice, flavor, texture, and all under your own control.

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Salsa is a brilliant amalgamation of art and science. Cooking, as we all know is scientific. However, it takes artistic genius to create that perfect blend. Within this article, I will explore a few avenues to help guide you along your brave salsa expeditions. So, the common components I throw in my salsa will be written here. Let’s see, you got your tomatoes – that’s inherently obvious.

But honestly, I have those just as a base, the real taste comes from a myriad of other sources. Not to excluded from this catalogue are your habaneros. A pepper famed for its spice – you won’t want to take out your contacts after handling these. Another great spice additive are jalapenos. Red or green, don’t discriminate on color, they both have their virtues. Red will give you a little more spice and a more stereotypical salsa coloring.

However, green jalapenos tend to be a little bit cheaper and are good if you don’t want to have steam coming out of your ears (bear in mind that’s an exaggeration, at least for me, I have a really high tolerance for spice.) However, pure tomatoes and spice can get a little drab, that’s why there are other ingredients in the world. Some of which, you can even use in salsa. Garlic. Bad breath, sure, but it will stop vampires from raiding your salsa stash while adding some scrumptious flavoring.

We also got our onions. Just don’t wipe your eyes when you cry, if you’ve been handling peppers, you’ll be crying for a whole ‘nother reason. My personal favorite non-spicey addition is cilantro. Very very yummy. It just has that ahhh… feeling to it. Some things that are a little odd to throw in salsa include cumin (an Indian spice), corn, and cats.

However, some people like them. I personally have used cumin to great effect, and I know a few people who throw in corn, but I’m a little skeptical of it. For the record, I’m an animal lover, so please don’t throw Mr. Bigglesworth, Fluffy, or even little Harry into your food processor – it’ll spoil the texture. Now, for you brave souls out there, there is one pepper so great, so illustrious, so provocative, and so utterly spicey that it would be a crying shame to ignore! This pepper, the holy grail of spice, is called Naga Jolikia. Named after the Naga Warriors, it hails from areas of India and Bangladesh and scores a 1,000,000 on the Scoville Scale.

Use with caution. However, if you really want to spice things up, it is as acceptable to use as Law-Enforcement Grade pepper spray, which, incidentally, scores about a 5,000,000 on the Scoville Scale. Throw the ingredients in the ratios you want into a food processors. The cool part about this is that you can throw them in at different times and slice them at different lengths of time in order to create your own texture. I prefer the liquidy stuff.

Remember, salsa is a calculated science, that takes precision to perfect, but once you master it, you have turned this science into a personal art form equivalent to the work of Picasso or Van Gogh.