We’ve been fans of the fluffy, lard-free tamales from The Tamale Store since 2010, when we first discovered them at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market. Although terrific on their own, the tamales made us long for an accompanying salsa – something to gild those lusty corn bundles.
Fast-forward a few years, and our wish came true. The Pimienta family (headed by matriarch Martha Castillo) introduced a line of salsas to complement the delicious tamales. All three jars ($6 each) have their own distinct flavor, but one thing they have in common is a slight sweet edge – just enough to notice but not overwhelm. Salsa del Barrio, hottest of the three – and by hot, we mean a nice slow burn, not a mouth-scorcher by any means – is a combination of tomatoes, tomatillos, smoky morita chile and just a smidgen of fiery chile de árbol. Think of it as an all-purpose salsa. Salsa Verde is a zippy tomatillo salsa spiked with jalapeño, cilantro, garlic and onion, and it’s terrific on the green chile pork tamales as well as the mushroom, corn and spinach tamales. Roasted Sauce Roja is dark and rich – almost mole-like – which is why it’s called a “sauce” and not a “salsa.” It’s great on the pork red chile tamales and homemade enchiladas. Check The Tamale Store website for farmers’ market locations, or visit the take-out storefront in North Phoenix.
The Tamale Store
13046 N. Cave Creek Rd., Phoenix