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Aug 30, 2007 12:22 PM

Salsa Verde (roast the tomatillos or not?)

I'm making some salsas for a large gathering (like 50 people).

I've only made Tomatillo salsa once or twice. But I've noticed some recipes call for roasting and others do not. It's a little bit more trouble to roast, but not the end of the world. Still if the yum factor is not that big, I'd just rather save the time.

Will I get considerably more flavor from the roasting? Is it worth the trouble?

I also have a concern the the last roasted salsa I made just didn't taste quite as good with chips as it did as a sauce for fish or chicken or whatever. But, that was not salsa verde, it was chirmol.

Heck, if anyone wants to post good salsa verde recipe that would be fine also.

I await your chow-able advice.


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  1. Depends on the type of flavor you want. Unroasted, you'll get more of the zippy, acidic tang. If you have the tiny tomatillos (ground cherries), then you can get away with not roasting, as they're more intense in flavor and not as watery. Otherwise, i say roast them if you're looking for more depth and the smoky nuance of the charred skin. You can do a dozen or mroe at a time quite easily in a big skillet on the stove top.

    Here's my summer salsa verde recipe, an uncooked version for light, clean flavors -

    2 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      I agree, it depends on the flavor you're shooting for. My personal preference is unroasted, but that doesn't mean I would ever turn down a roasted version. I love the zippiness of it.

      1. re: jules127

        Yes, if you don't feel like paying for fresh limes, make an uncooked tomatillo salsa. No additional acidity needed.

    2. So, I made the "Salsa Verde" last night and decided to gently roast the tomatillos at about 350 for 10 minutes, rather than char them as some recipes suggest.

      Oh my, the smell was amazing - I had never roasted them in any recipe before. I didn't need too much lime or salt actually - the salsa is mostly tomatillos and jalapenos. Oh so tasty indeed.

      Roasting was definitely the way to go!
      Thanks for the advice.

      3 Replies
        1. re: KaimukiMan

          I started with Rick Bayless' recipe, and the advice received here on chowhound.

          Since I was making a huge batch, I really didn't follow a recipe per se. I roasted the tomatillos in the oven as I describe and when they just about cooled, I threw tthem in the food processor. Then I tossed in a bunch of jalapenos, chopped white onion, and a little cilantro.

          I probably used about 30 tomatillos and 15 jalapenos, which turned out to be a tasty ratio. I also eased back on the salt and cilantro - once I started tasting, it really didn't seam like it needed much else.

          1. re: GDSinPA

            I've been looking for some good salsa ver de recipes since we grew our first tomatillo plants this year. We've had pounds and pounds of them! and I have to say, this was a great, simple way to prepare them. I've tried raw versions, but this just bowled them over.

      1. I always pan roast them....I have read recipes for boiling - has anyone tried this? boring?

        2 Replies
        1. re: kare_raisu

          Grilling! I tried this a few months ago (see link below) and I was quite pleased with the resulting sweetness. I halved them and grilled them with a little red onion and shallot. Then, blended with cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, sugar, salt. Even yummier the next day. Mmmmmm. Yay for tomatillos!

          1. re: kare_raisu

            Actually, my favorite little taqueria gave me their recipe and they are boiled, but it's more of a poaching process. You add whole tomatillos, jalapenos, an onion and some garlic to a pot and barely cover them halfway with water...after poaching until the tomatillos are just soft (which takes no time at all) zip them in a food processor with some cilantro and maybe a little lime juice. I like both roasting and poaching, depends what flavor I'm in the mood for. Roasting produces a much sweeter, nuttier salsa; poaching produces a more traditional bright green (both flavor and color) salsa.

            1. re: Dave1201

              I roast the tomatillos, jalapeƱos, quartered onions and unpeeled garlic at 350 until the tomatillos are soft. When cooled, the garlic gets peeled and everything gets whirred in the food processor with some cilantro and a little salt.

              1. re: janeh

                I agree with janeh.I make mine the exact same way.I like the smokey flavour roasting adds.Also I sometimes blend a couple of avocados in at the end.This adds a nice slightly creamy texture to the sauce.

                1. re: dcrf

                  Wow..,,I like the idea of adding avocados to finish. My next batch will include an avocado or two. Thanks for the great suggestion.