What do you do when someone gives you a big bag of tomatillos? Well, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right? (Or limoncello). Here at Hot Eddie’s, when life gives you tomatillos, we make Salsa Verde (Green Sauce). Some Green Chile salsas are mild, some are fiery hot. You control that by varying the amount of serranos. They all use fresh green chiles as their base, and often rely on tomatillos for their unique flavor.
In case you missed our last post, tomatillos look like small green tomatoes encased in a papery husk. Here is a salsa that builds on the techniques of Manny’s Uncanny Salsa. This time, we are going to roast the tomatillos and chiles to char them and in one of these variations, cook them with onions and spices to create a delicious Salsa Verde. The second variation just pureés the roasted tomatillos and chiles without further cooking. Both use the same ingredients, but treat them differently resulting in a different salsa. The char gives the salsa a distinct smoky taste, and the tomatillos a tangy sour-sweet flavor. Like all the recipes here, use them as a point of departure for your own variations. Change the proportion and types of chiles, add cumin or other spices. Our goal here is to encourage you to make these recipes your own. Go for it.
Both recipes call for roasting the tomatillos and chilies under the broiler. When we were using the Detroit Jewel with its gas broiler it took 10 to 15 minutes to roast them. With our new Thermador’s space-age infra-red broiler, it chars the tomatillos in less than five minutes. It is like using the surface of the sun to cook the food. It is important to watch the roasting so you get a good char without cremating the vegetables.
Salsa Verde 1 – Prep time 30 minutes (depending on your broiler) Makes 2 cups of salsa.
1 ½ pounds tomatillos
4-5 serrano chiles
4 jalepenõ chiles
1 large poblano pepper
½ onion, diced
6 cloves garlic
½ cup fresh chopped cilantro.
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon ground coriander
Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse in cold water to remove the sticky film. Cut in half through the stem. Line a heavy roasting pan with tin foil (makes cleanup waaaay easier) and arrange the tomatillos cut side down. Broil under a hot broiler until they are soft and charred black on top.
While the tomatillos are roasting, film 3-quart sauce pan with the oil and put over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes until the onions clear. Do not brown them. Add garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add coriander powder and cook for a minute.
When the tomatillos are done, pour them and their liquid into the saucepan. Bring to the simmer.
Put Serrano, Jalepeño and Poblano chiles in the roasting pan and return to the broiler. Roast the peppers, turning once until they blacken and soften.
Remove stems from the serranos. Remove stems and seeds from the poblanos and jalepeños and roughly chop. Its okay if you don’t get all the seeds. You might want to wear gloves for this part.
Add the chiles and chopped cilantro to the tomatillos, onions, and garlic. Simmer for 10 more minutes to marry the flavors.
Carefully pour into a food processor and process for 10-20 seconds to a smooth texture. Add salt to taste. Let cool, cover tightly and refrigerate.
Okay, that wasn’t too difficult, was it?
Now variation number two. No pictures necessary, the procedure is the same but you don’t need to chop onions or sauté anything.
Salsa Verde 2
10-12 medium tomatillos
1-2 jalapeño peppers
1-2 serrano peppers (more if you like it hotter. Some like it hot.)
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
¼ cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
Proceed as for the previous recipe. Roast the tomatillos, chiles, unpeeled garlic, and green onions. When the vegetables are roasted, remove stems and seeds from the jalapeños, the stems from the serranos, peel the garlic, roughly chop and toss everything into your food processor or blender. If the green part of the scallions are too charred, just discard them. The salsa looks very much the same but has a different taste. Try them both and decide which one you like better.