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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

January 3, 2012

This is one of those times when I wish I could send smells over the internet. The aroma of roasting tomatillos, peppers and garlic is one of the main reasons I love making this instead of just buying it in a jar.

I also love the flexibility of it. This is really more of a technique than a recipe, and I vary the amounts a bit each time depending on how spicy I want the sauce and what I’m using it for.

We used this as a topping for gorditas, but it also makes a great sauce for enchiladas, a marinade for chicken, or an accompaniment to chips or nachos.

Fun fact: tomatillo plants are self-incompatible, so they need another plant for proper pollination to bear fruit. It’s a little like a love story… if you anthropomorphize your food.  In any case, tomatillos are tangy, a little sweet, and sticky when disrobed.

I highly recommend using foil and curling it up around the edges. Tomatillos tend to burst open and leak juice, and you want to collect every last drop for the salsa.

Be careful with the hot serranos. You can play with whether or not to remove the seeds or how much of the pepper to actually use, especially if making salsa for spice-noobs.

You can remove the charred bits from the tomatillos if you like. I tend to leave them in for the extra roasted flavor.

Sunday dinner at my house: green salsa on top of poblano-cheese stuffed gorditas. You need a glass of milk for this one.

Here’s another application from last summer: chicken thighs marinated and braised in the salsa to make delicious tacos. I used extra lime juice and less serrano in this one.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Makes about 3 cups

1.5 lbs fresh tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, in the skin
1-2 serrano chiles
1/2 medium yellow onion, skin on
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
salt to taste

1. Line a broiler pan or baking sheet with foil, lay out tomatillos, garlic, onion and serranos. Place under the broiler until all are soft and begin to char, about 10 minutes on the first side and 5 minutes on the second side. (Check on it frequently to make sure nothing gets over-charred.)
2. Remove ingredients and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel the onion, garlic and chiles. Remove seeds and inner veins from the chiles.
3. Cut the onion into chunks. Run all ingredients through a food processor, in batches if necessary. Texture should be fairly smooth, but some small chunks are fine.
4. Stir in lime juice, cilantro and salt. Serve immediately or leave in the fridge overnight to let the flavors really blend.

 

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