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best *tomatillo* salsa?

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Tomatillos are so cute and so delightfully tangy. I picked up a bunch today and I can't wait for them to work their magic. I'm always thrilled, whipping them into salsas. I'd like to try grilling them first until blackened with a serrano I think, and then into the blender with cilantro, onion, the usual suspects.

Anybody have great tips or a go-to tomatillo salsa recipe they love? Or other cool creative ways to prepare them?

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  1. Tomatillo Salsa Verde

    1 lb (about a dozen) fresh tomatillos, husked, washed, and cut into quarters.
    1 cup chopped white onion.
    3 or 4 chopped serrano or jalapeno chiles, seeds and all
    Several cloves of garlic
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro.
    1 tsp sugar
    1/2 tsp salt

    Put all of this in a blender or food processor and process until minced finely. Add sugar and salt or to taste and let sit refrigerated for a couple of hours.

    The salsa will keep refrigerated for several weeks. It can be adjusted for hotness and amount of cilantro.

    This is HOT STUFF - Very Hot! I call this my "Salsa Starter," freeze it into ice cubes, and use the cubes as the hot ingredient in my salsas and Mexican dishes.

    A variation is to (1) heat in a saucepan until tomatillos are soft, then blend, and (2) leave cilantro out of the mixture, but add the chopped cilantro in after processing.

    1. Last night I made a fairly decent chicken dish with a similar salsa to yours. I just left the cilantro till the end, browned the chicken, added the 'salsa' and cooked it through then added the Cilantro, the juice of a lime, a dash of Worchester Sauce and served it with grilled courgettes and rice.

      1. Please let us know how the grilling turns out; interesting idea, but suggest not using too hot a fire. I make a very basic sauce: no onion, just the tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, serrano, and little salt. The sauce can also be blended with guacamole for a nice variation, good with chicken.


        1. I think I'll grill them in foil packets -- Flay suggests getting them "blackened" first, then quickly sauteeing. Maybe I would put them directly on the grill to blacken? Hmm. They seem sensitive :) so I'd feel better using the foil. Plus, every time I slap veggies in foil and grill I'm wow-ed by the results.

          Then there's the final texture -- I usually blend it all until smooth but I might just puree some this time and see how I like the chunkier version. I think I'll do two batches and have sweety and others taste test.

          Hey janeer -- I'm in RI too! :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: foxy fairy

            You can also char the veggies on the stove top in cast iron or another heavy pan.

          2. I roast them in the oven until soft and blackened - let them cool and add white onions ( soaked in cold water & drained) jalapeno, cilantro, sugar, salt and water and puree.

            1. Thanks for the tips! Here's the report: I halved the tomatillos and grilled them directly on the grill until soft and sweet. I also grilled a shallot and 1/2 red onion (on foil).

              Then I blended these with jalapeno, lots of cilantro, lime juice, sugar and salt.

              The tomatillos took on an intense sweetness when grilled --- mmmmmm. I really like this preparation - I let the salsa sit overnight :) so I'm sure it will be even better today!

              1. Here is an old post from my blog. Somewhat similar to the previous recipe, but with a few differences. We also use this, layered with tortillas, cheese, and various fillings for a deconstructed enchilada casserole. YUM

                Salsa Verde

                14 healthy tomatillos (golf-ballish size)
                1 tbsp olive oil
                1/2 tbsp salt
                1/2 tbsp pepper
                1 medium jalapeno
                2 cloves garlic
                2 tsp chili powder
                2 tsp cumin
                1 bunch cilantro
                1 tsp honey
                2 ripe avocados
                1 beautiful ripe tomato
                Juice of two loose limes

                TOMATILLOS: Halve the tomatillos and throw them in a 9x12 casserole dish. A rimmed baking sheet is fine, but I find it gets very sticky. Toss the tomatillos with the olive oil, salt and pepper. BROIL for about 12 minutes. What you want is a nicely bruised tomatillo that has started losing its juices. Don't go for the full on skin blister unless you want a very deep roasted flavor. Let them cool and place the tomatoillos, skins, juices, everything, in the food processor.

                JALAPENO:At the same time, ROAST the jalapeno. I throw the jalapeno in the toaster oven, but it would be fine in the oven with the tomatillos. I really like the sharp high notes that the jalapeno has and the roasting tempers it only a bit. Many people use a siracha pepper in salsa verde (serrano, etc.) and I think this is fine, just different. You may want to de-seed and de-vein the jalapeno before tossing it in the food processor, but I don't. Most people like the kick.

                AVOCADOS:Find two wonderfully ripe avocados. You'll be ok if they are a day away or so, but other than that, I would wait. We're going for a smooth texture here and the under-ripe tend to be too chunky. Toss them in the food processor with the rest of their friends.

                CILANTRO: This is not one of those recipes for folks that don't like cilantro. In fact, this could be called cilantro lover's salsa verde. Wash the cilantro and use about a cup and a half of leaves. This salsa basically gets pulverized, so no worries if a stem or ten get in. You guessed right, throw it in the food processor.

                LIME JUICE:You know those tight limes? The ones that just don't give up the juice. Let's not pretend that using one of those is the same as using a deliciously squeezy one. Lime is where it's at in this salsa. Roll your limes on a cuting board or counter before squeezing the juice out. We want a fresh kicky lime taste! Pour the lime juice into the food processor.

                Now add the garlic, cumin, chili powder and honey. Finally, add a medium-sized red tomato. This really completes the flavors, adds a bit of liquid, cools down the jalapeno a bit. A little yang for the yin, ya know?

                Now, run the processor. I like to use the pulse feature, but you do want this pretty well blended. Work with the taste.

                What you don't want is that very delicious clear salsa verde you see at most restaurants. The avocado should take care of that and smooth things out a bit. We're going for piquant and just on the very edge of creamy, citrusy hot with a gentle tap of the sweet meter, clean with complexity and flavor layers.