Salsa Criolla – Criollo or Creole Sauce

I could write a simple note saying this is a quick and easy sauce to prepare, here’s the recipe, but I won’t. Don’t worry. I promise this will be brief.

First let’s take a look at the word criolla. The term is widely used throughout Latin America. To sum it up, remember I’m trying to keep this brief, the term refers to those of European descent born in a foreign land; mainly the Americas, however other parts of the world too. A rough translation of criollo is creole. Creole is widely used to reflect the cultures and cuisines of the Caribbean and Louisiana, for example, that are based on influences of European, particularly French descendants. If you are familiar with Louisiana creole cuisine, you’ll notice that the ingredients and methods of preparation of salsa criolla in Argentina are not at all different.

Now that that is covered, in Argentina, back in the day, criollos were known as those who were born within the country but of Spanish descent. Also, native cuisine, based on past European influences, is known in Argentina as comida criolla.

History lesson over, let’s go back to the sauce. Salsa criolla, can be used as a condiment for meats at an asado. A popular version is known as salsa criolla crudo. Crudo means uncooked or raw and therefore all of the ingredients are just mixed together and served. Although, some versions call for the light cooking of onions and garlic before the remaining ingredients are added. I could go into the uses for using salsa criolla in cooking but remember this is all about asado. As with chimichurri and other recipes, everyone has their own variation. However, it is often agreed upon that the essential ingredients are onion, sweet peppers such as green and/or red, tomatoes and salt.

Here is my favorite version.

1 Onion; finely chopped
1 Sweet Red Pepper; finely chopped (Red Bell or Pimento)
1 Green Bell Pepper; finely chopped
1 Tomato; seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic; finely minced
1 Tablespoon flat-leaf parsley; finely chopped
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together and serve. I enjoy this sauce as fresh as possible but if you would like to let the ingredients steep for a while then go for it.

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