I first encountered Salsa Quemada in a cheap Mexican restaurant in San Antonio, where it was served without fanfare as part of a humble meal I was enjoying.
To this gringo, it was a revelation – smoky, spicy and a perfect complement to every dish I tried.
I knew then I had to replicate it at home – and I believe I have succeeded with this simple yet profound recipe.
My Salsa Quemada roasts virtually every ingredient, then doubles down on the smokiness with the addition of a bit of chipotle (not typically used in Salsa Quemada, but it really works well here!). Revolutionary? Indeed. Yet still true to the foundation and flavor profile of this most noble of salsas.
One version of the history of salsa is elucidated in this sagacious excerpt from an article on streetdirectory.com:
The history of Salsa sauce originated with the Inca people. Salsa (combination of chilies, tomatoes and other spices) can be traced to the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas. The Spaniards first encountered tomatoes after their conquest of Mexico in 1519-1521, which marked the beginning of the history of Salsa sauce. Aztec lords combined tomatoes with chili peppers, ground squash seeds and consumed them mainly as a condiment served on turkey, venison, lobster, and fish. This combination was subsequently called salsa by Alonso de Molina in 1571.
Charles E. Erath of New Orleans was the first person in salsa sauce history who began manufacturing Extract of Louisiana Pepper, Red Hot Creole Peppersauce in 1916. A year later, La Victoria Foods started Salsa Brava in Los Angeles.
In Louisiana in 1923, Baumer Foods began manufacturing Crystal Hot Sauce and in 1928 Bruce Foods started making Original Louisiana Hot Sauce – two salsa sauce brands that are still in existence.
In 1941, Henry Tanklage formed La Victoria Sales Company to market a new La Victoria salsa line. He introduced red and green taco, and enchilada sauces – the first of salsa hot sauces in US. He took over the entire La Victoria operation in 1946, which manufactures ten different hot sauces now covering the entire salsa spectrum, including Green Chili Salsa and Red Salsa Jalape.
According to the hot sauce history, salsa manufacturing in Texas began in 1947 with David and Margaret Pace and their picante sauce. In 1952, La Victoria Foods introduced the first commercial taco sauce in US and in 1955, La Preferida launched a line of salsas.
Tucson Weekly’s author believe salsa originated with the Aztecs! Franciscan Friar Alonso de Molina generically named the condiment in 1571, according to Andrew F. Smith’ s book Souper Tomatoes: The Story of America’s Favorite Food. But it was the 16th-century scholar and priest Bernardino de Sahagún who may have first made reference to the condiment, saying Aztec lords combined chile peppers with ground squash seeds and tomato (or tomatl for those Nahuatl speakers among you) to be put on turkey, venison, lobster and fish.
Embrace this salsa quemada recipe with all of your revolutionary zeal and I promise you will never go back to “ordinary” salsa.
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
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