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What Is Salsa Golf?

Salsa Golf is a delightful Argentine creation, blending the tang of ketchup with the creamy richness of mayonnaise. This versatile condiment adds a zesty twist to seafood, fries, and burgers. Its origin story, involving a Nobel laureate, adds to its charm. Curious about how to make your own or the tale behind its invention? Dive deeper into the world of Salsa Golf.
Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins

Salsa golf, or golf sauce, is an Argentinian variation of Thousand Island or Russian dressing created by one of the country's most famed chemical tinkerers in the 1920s. Nobel laureate and biochemist Luis F. Leloir was reportedly eating prawns at the country's landmark "Golf Club," in Mar de Plata, when he lamented the blandness of the plain mayonnaise customarily served as the standard dipping sauce for shellfish. Asking the kitchen for a range of simple ingredients, Leloir made various concoctions and decided that a pink blend of mayonnaise and ketchup, along with some distinctively Argentine spices, had the right complementary blend of creamy and tart.

Some chefs use a store-bought mayonnaise as the base of the salsa golf. Others make their own by whipping egg yolks and slowly adding oil as an emulsifier. Using vegetable oil means making mayonnaise, while using olive oil results in an aioli. A little vinegar or citrus juice is commonly added along the way, too, whisking and dropping in oil until the yolk turns into mayonnaise.

Chefs sometimes tweak salsa golf to suit particular dishes, adding ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs.
Chefs sometimes tweak salsa golf to suit particular dishes, adding ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs.

Equal parts mayonnaise and ketchup form the base of salsa golf. After blending the two completely into a pink sauce, some lemon or lime juice is added to boost the sauce's element of acidity. A dash of salt and pepper, some mustard and a few drops of Tabasco® would not be uncommon either. Once whipped to a thick consistency, the sauce is ready for dipping.

Citrus is commonly added to salsa golf.
Citrus is commonly added to salsa golf.

Shellfish is not the only dish that salsa golf will complement. It is often used on sandwiches, in salads, for seafood pizza, and with burgers and fries. Many also use salsa golf as a dipping sauce for other types of meats besides shellfish, like steak and chicken as well as for vegetable dishes like the heart of palm — starring palmitos en salsa golf.

Chefs often tweak the ingredients in subtle ways to suit the dishes they are preparing, adding diced onions, hard-boiled egg, paprika and even relish — as with Thousand Island dressing, or horseradish and chives, to create Russian dressing. In Chile, red wine replaces the ketchup for a distinctively acidic twist. North American commercial dressing makers, like Hellmann's® and Kraft®, do not market salsa golf to English-speaking markets, opting instead for Thousand Island or Russian blends. In South America, however, salsa golf can readily be found on grocery store shelves, right along beside the mayonnaise and ketchup.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Salsa Golf and where did it originate?

Salsa Golf is a condiment created in Argentina that combines mayonnaise and ketchup, along with spices and additional ingredients like lemon juice, to create a unique and versatile sauce. According to legend, it was invented in the 1920s by Luis Federico Leloir, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist, who mixed the two main ingredients together at a golf club, hence the name "Salsa Golf."

How is Salsa Golf typically used?

Salsa Golf is commonly used as a dip or sauce in various dishes. It pairs well with seafood, particularly shrimp and prawns, and is often served with snacks like French fries or as a dressing for salads. Its creamy texture and tangy flavor make it a popular choice in Argentine cuisine for adding a rich, slightly sweet and tangy taste to meals.

Are there any variations of Salsa Golf?

Yes, there are several variations of Salsa Golf that can include ingredients like garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, or Tabasco to add different flavor profiles. Some recipes may also incorporate fresh herbs or adjust the ratio of mayonnaise to ketchup to suit personal tastes. These variations allow for customization and experimentation with the sauce.

Is Salsa Golf similar to any other sauces internationally?

Salsa Golf shares similarities with other international sauces such as Russian dressing and Thousand Island dressing, which also combine mayonnaise and ketchup or tomato-based sauces. However, Salsa Golf is distinct in its origin and the particular balance of its ingredients, which is characteristic of Argentine cuisine.

Can Salsa Golf be made at home and how long does it last?

Yes, Salsa Golf can easily be made at home by mixing together equal parts of mayonnaise and ketchup, then adjusting the flavor with lemon juice and spices to taste. Homemade Salsa Golf should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and typically lasts for up to one week, ensuring its freshness and preventing spoilage.

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    • Chefs sometimes tweak salsa golf to suit particular dishes, adding ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs.
      By: Natika
      Chefs sometimes tweak salsa golf to suit particular dishes, adding ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs.
    • Citrus is commonly added to salsa golf.
      By: alexlukin
      Citrus is commonly added to salsa golf.