June 24, 2012
This was my featured recipe in the current issue of Edible Santa Barbara and it’s a summer favorite worth sharing. Green salsa can be made any number of ways, but to me, this roasted version is the best. It’s a great condiment for Mexican food of all types and a fantastic option on grilled fish, shrimp or octopus; it also complements roasted chicken deliciously.
Sometimes with salsa recipes the flavors and heat levels depend on the ingredients at your disposal. Here I give you some options to let you play with the flavors a bit. And call me crazy, but I prefer the taste of the salsa made in the molcajete to salsa made in the food processor. You can literally taste the difference. Amazing!
Wild tomatillos are smaller than cultivated ones—these are the size of cherry tomatoes. Their flavor is much bolder, more assertive. We often let them dry for a week or two in their husks before roasting them, which amps up their sweetness. You don’t have to dry them, but they’ll be much more acidic if you don’t.
At Christmastime we use the dried tomatillo husks to make buñuelos. We soak the husks in water before adding them to the flour mixture to make the dough more elastic and pliable.
Roasted Green Salsa
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon salt
20 wild tomatillos or 10 cultivated ones
2 spicy jalapenos, or 1 serrano and 2 mild heat jalapenos
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
Roast your tomatillos and peppers in a dry cast iron skillet. In a molcajete (or mortar and pestle) combine the garlic and salt.
Next, remove the stems of the peppers and mash, then add the tomatillos, followed by the cilantro leaves. Taste for seasoning and serve.
Combine the garlic and salt.
Add your chiles.
Pound away …
Add the tomatillos.
Crush the tomatillos …
Add the cilantro …
Or, process all in a mini-food processor and serve.