The Killer Griller

‘Sting’ your Tastebuds with a Great Summer Salsa Dish

Salsa is sauce in Spanish. In English-speaking countries it usually refers to the sauces typical of Mexican cuisine known as salsa picante, particularly those used as dips. The dips are often tomato-based, although many are not, and they are typically piquant, ranging from mild to extremely hot.

The word salsa entered the English language from the Spanish salsa, which itself derives from the Latin meaning “salty” from sal (salt). The word “salary” comes from the same Latin root word. The Roman armies were paid with salt.

Picante sauce of the American type is often thinner in consistency than what is labeled as salsa. Picante is a Spanish adjective meaning “piquant,” which derives from “picar” (to sting), referring to the feeling caused by salsas on your tongue.

The condiment’s roots can be traced as far back as the Aztec civilization. You know it has to be good to still be on the menu.

Grilled Fish with Pineapple Salsa
This month we’re making a pineapple sauce to go with our fish. The fish is your choice. I suggest using a fresh, freshwater species like crappie, bass, catfish, talapia, stripers, etc.

Feel free to substitute mango for pineapple or mix the two proportionally. Both fruits will give you a sweet, spicy sauce that can be used as a topping for nachos or as a garnish on grilled chicken or grilled fish because of their complementary flavors. Here’s this month’s mouthwatering recipe for salsa and grilled fish.

8 fish fillets (4 ounces each)

2 cups cubed fresh pineapple

2 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

4 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons

lime juice, divided

1/8 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt,     divided

Dash cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/8 teaspoon pepper

For salsa: In a small bowl, combine pineapple (and/or mango), green onions, green pepper, cilantro, 4 teaspoons lime juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt and cayenne. Refrigerate until serving.

For fish: Mix oil and remaining lime juice; drizzle over fillets. Sprinkle with pepper and remaining salt.

To grill: Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, rub on grill rack to coat lightly. Grill fish, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from heat 2-3 minutes on each side or until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork. Serve with salsa.

Note: Be careful storing your any salsa. It acts like a growth medium for bacteria according the World Health Organization. Rrefrigeration is the key to safe sauces. The WHO study also found that fresh lime juice and fresh garlic (not powdered) can prevent the growth of bacteria.

As for making salsas, you can whip up many variations. Use your imagination and let it guide you to recipes and tastes not found in cookbooks.