Every world cuisine has their own unique sauces, variously known as: salsas, dips, chutneys, relishes, dressings, pestos etc. They serve as accompaniments or condiments to flavor or complement other foods. While a sauce is not usually a dish in and of itself it can make all the difference in a dish or a meal. Sauces come in all consistencies: thick, chunky, smooth, creamy, runny and sometimes crunchy. They can be sweet, savory, tart, salty, bitter or umami. There is a very long list of sauces on Wikipedia, but any such list could never be comprehensive or static. Even though there is nothing new under the sun, the possible flavor and ingredient combinations are infinite.
Mexican style salsas are among my favorite sauces. The complimentary salsa brought to the table at a Mexican restaurant is the first taste impression to influence my assessment of the establishment. If there is a salsa bar, well, that bumps them up a notch from the get-go in my estimation.
The Mexican restaurant I most recently dined at had a great salsa bar with numerous selections. One that caught my eye was simply labeled “Lime Salsa.” It was mild with just a little heat and the lime flavor was barely prominent enough to earn it the title. The grainy texture was pesto-like and resembled chutneys I have eaten. I was impressed with the concept and thought I might be able to improve it by kicking up the flavors.
I lightly roasted some pumpkin seeds and blended them along with two small green chilis and the zest and juice of two limes. A little salt and honey got the flavors just right.
We sampled the dip with almond crackers yesterday along with our lunch of fenugreek brown rice, summer squash and poke greens.
Today I modified the sauce by blending in cilantro, and used it as a dressing in a Waldorf style fruit salad. The ingredients in the salad were:
- radish seed pods
- roasted walnuts
- red bell pepper