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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.
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.
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.
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