It’s no secret here on ManMade that I’m eternally in love with the food and flavors of Mexico. I just think there’s something about the flavors of chiles, corn, lime, and cilantro that simply meshes with my palette.
And while I love a tender, toothsome fresh tortilla as much as anyone, and I’ll gladly give an unnecessary bodily organ for a slow roasted cochinita pibil, the defining characteristic of Mexican flavors, for me, is salsa. And, for the experts as well, like Roberto Santibañez of Fonda in Brooklyn. In the latest issue of Saveur, he shares his passion.
Despite the influence that geography has on salsa, there are no rules, no one dish that you serve a type of salsa with. And depending on technique, one set of ingredients can produce very different results. Roasting, for instance, renders tomatillos jammy, and mellows seasonings like chiles and garlic. If you prefer chunky salsa, pound garlic, chile, and salt to a paste in a molcajete, then mash in roasted tomatillos. For a smooth salsa, purée those ingredients in the blender. For a concentrated condiment, season the purée to the hilt with salt, lime juice, and chile, to make an intense sauce that matches emphatically flavored foods such as bluefish or lamb. To make a cooking liquid, dilute the sauce with water and simmer it to meld the flavors.
He shares nine recipes to demonstrate the versatility of salsas. Check them out!