Inspired by this article on Matador Network featuring the best condiments from around the world, I decided to highlight the five basic sauces, spreads and spices that no Argentine kitchen can be without.
Though I'm not a huge fan of mayo, it's comforting to know that there's a bag of Hellmann's stashed in the fridge for potato salad and such. (Yes, both mayonnaise and milk come packaged in bags here.) However, unlike most Argentines, I don't feel compelled to slather mayonesa on my french fries, milanesas (breaded and fried beef cutlets) or puchero (boiled meat and vegetables). Daniel from Expat Argentina offers up some interesting insights to account for the extreme popularity of mayonnaise in Argentina.
Salsa golf, mayonnaise and ketchup's love child, turns up in the strangest of places, including on top of pizza with hearts of palm and hardboiled egg. The lovely people at Hellmann's conveniently bag up this orangey-pink concoction as well, although here it's shown in a bottle. Rebecca at From Argentina With Love explains the origins of salsa golf along with a recipe (there's a bit more to it than just ketchup and mayo, I promise).
Chimichurri, Argentina's most emblematic condiment, consists of a mixture of parsley, garlic, oil, vinegar and other seasonings. An indispensible ingredient at Argentine barbecues, chimichurri dresses up choripanes (chorizo sausage sandwiches) and grilled meats. If you're looking to make your own chimichurri, Amy and Jonny from We Are Never Full and Asado Argentina provide recipes here and here. There are countless ways to prepare chimichurri, so feel free to experiment and tweak the recipes to your liking.
Featuring a mix of bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic, salsa criolla's bright, fresh flavors help cut through the richness of the grilled beef, chicken or other meats it usually accompanies. Salsa criolla, like chimichurri, leaves plenty of room for experimentation. To get started on your own batch, take a peek here [Asado Argentina] and here [From Argentina With Love] for recipes.
Finally, though hardly unique to this country, the number one Argentine condiment of all time is salt. In all honesty, salt probably deserves its own spot on the Argentine food pyramid, but good old NaCl will have to make do with an honorable mention. Asado Argentina gives the lowdown on this most basic yet beloved of condiments and the different types of salt used in Argentine grilling.
Both salsa criolla and chimichurri make my taste buds happy. What's your favorite Argentine condiment?