What if I told you that salsa is now the number one condiment in the United States? According to statistics from Fox News, changing American palates have pushed salsa to the top spot. That shouldn’t be terribly surprising, not when you consider all of the different types of salsa on the market that increasingly make an appearance at football parties and on dinner tables across the country.
Many of salsa’s biggest fans are now learning how to make authentic Mexican Salsa of all types. While the versions being put out by most home kitchens aren’t bad, there is one crucial ingredient that too many home cooks are getting wrong: the tomatoes. If you aren’t using the best tomatoes for salsa, no matter what kind you’re making, you’re going to put out a sub-par version each and every time.
The Best Tomatoes for Salsa of All Types
- Green Tomatoes Are a Must for Salsa Verde
- Roma, Plum, and Cherry Tomatoes Are the Best for Classic Salsa
- Pico de Gallo Salsa Dips Demand a Firmer Tomato
Salsa verde means “green sauce,” so naturally, if you want to make salsa verde correctly, as the popular foodie website Eatin’ on the Cheap suggests, you need to use green tomatoes. Any variety of tomato will work here, but if you can get a hold of them, you should use tomatillos. Tomatillos, also known as husk tomatoes, are small, permanently green tomatoes about the size of plum varieties. They offer a natural saltiness that most tomatoes don’t have, making them the single best option for this job.
What we think of as classic salsa, according to Chow, typically has more of a watery consistency than, say, a pico de gallo. That’s why Roma, plum, and cherry tomatoes are the best tomatoes for salsa of this kind. They bring the vibrant red color and the noticeable sweetness that a great salsa demands, but they lack the firm texture of the more rustic heirloom varieties that make pico de gallo dips so distinctive.
Pico de gallo, “rooster’s beak,” is a type of salsa that is known for its simplicity and bold, fresh flavors. Unlike other versions of salsa that require a lot of blending to get the proper flavor and consistency, you only need toss together rough chopped tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, and cilantro with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to create a delicious version.
If you choose to make a pico de gallo, you need to use a very firm tomato. Any of the heirloom varieties, from Isis candy tomatoes to Cherokee Purples, will work extremely well, though the color of your salsa will vary greatly based on what you use. What makes heirlooms the best tomatoes for the job is the way they’re grown. Because they’re allowed to ripen on the vine, instead of being gassed on the way to the market like the industrially produced varieties, they gain a firmer texture and a fuller flavor. This makes them the only option for an authentic pico de gallo.
Do you make your own classic mild salsa dip or other varieties? What tomatoes do you use to make your dip special? Let us know in the comments below. Helpful sites.