There are times when I just crave the tartness of a green salsa. And many of those times, I’m impatient. I want it NOW. I could seek counseling for my inability to deal with need and want. Or I can pick up a can of tomatillos.
I choose the can. Although you can make salsa from raw tomatillos, I prefer them cooked in some manner before going into the salsa. You can boil or roast them. Either way, with fresh tomatillos you have to peel them, then halve them if you are roasting, and there’s the mess and … There’s that can solution again: already with the leaves off, and already cooked.
All I have to do is not mess up with can opener and spill juice on the counter or floor. My lovely wife Suzen is fastidious about a kitchen free of mess, wet spots and sticky spots. She keeps finding them. I don’t know who puts them there.
This recipe produces a salsa that is tart but not overly so. The avocado adds to the green but of course contributes essential smoothness. This recipe calls for some heat, one serrano chile. Open up your vegetable bin and use what you have, just adjusting the amount depending on the actual type of chiles you have around.
What did I use? One poblano unroasted but washed, quartered and tossed into the blender. I was hotly happy with the results and very happy at my preparation time. I know the recipe says to refrigerate for up to two hours or until ready to use. I was ready then, and the next day the leftovers were even better. [Yes, the tomatillos had contributed some pectin so the next day required just a touch of stirring to loosen it up. That’s your chance to add some additional lemon or lime juice to brighten the flavor if you desire.]
This recipe comes from Fresh Mexico, a delightful book with 100 very authentic, very quick and very, very delicious recipes.
Easy Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
Yield: about two cups
- 8 ounces tomatillos from the can
- 1 avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
- ½ cup [packed] fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 serrano chile
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the tomatillos, avocado, cilantro, serrano chile, and lemon juice in a blender and puree until smooth. Season the salsa to taste with salt and pepper.
Refrigerate for up to 2 hours or until ready to use.
Source: Fresh Mexico by Marcela Valladolid
If I say “salsa” what crosses your mind? To most of us, the “salsa” word immediately pulls up an image of something red, hot, and sitting on a chip. It’s as if Karl Marx were the Chief Salsa maker with the motto: “Salsas of the world, unite!”
Thank God for diversity. There is a world of salsas in all colors, flavors, and intensities. This one offers you an abundance of fruit flavors including mango, banana and plenty of chili warmth. This salsa can sit proudly on the top of any chip. It’s also the perfect accompaniment for dishes like chili, nacho, or crab cakes.
As a complement to say, chili, this salsa provides contrast in texture and sparkle. A chilled salsa is a bright match for stove-hot chili. This complementary role is achieved without blandness: there is heat in this salsa and it’s appropriately spicy to provide contrast for that chili.
I’ve made this salsa many times and have refined this recipe so that it is quick and easy to make, yet utterly delicious. In the ingredients below, you see I specify “2” of everything, which makes for each preparation. The last ingredient, the jalapenos, is the one exception. I prefer the heat of just one jalapeno but you may want two. And, as with any salsa, some last minute adjustment of heat, of lime juice, or of sugar may be needed given the sweetness of the fruit.
If you haven’t worked with mangos before, it’s simple. Just peel and cut off the meat. That “big” fruit has a big core, so you harvest relatively little meat from each mango. Don’t try to cut into that core. If you are pressing with your knife, you’ll be pressing with your teeth and that’s not good salsa.
One word of warning from my lawyer: these are jalapenos so be careful. You probably think the “warnings” about hot peppers are over done. They aren’t. Wearing rubber gloves is a good idea. Avoiding anything near you eye is important. When I made my last test batch two days ago, I avoided my eye completely. But I did rub my brow once, then went to exercise, sweated, and had to flush my eye with cold water. Please be careful.
Feel free to improvise with this recipe. You can add cilantro or other spices. I like this version which has fewer of the “usual” ingredients and gives you a distinctly “new” flavor experience.
Brian’s Spicy Mango Salsa
Servings: enough for 4-6 people as a side dish
- 2 mangos, the meat cut into medium dice
- 2 bananas, cut into ¼ inch rounds
- 2 shallots, cut into medium dice
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 pinches of salt
- 1 jalapeno, diced with seeds and membrane removed
- Garnishes: sliced cilantro, scallions, …
Place the diced mango in a bowl, then add the bananas and shallots. Pour in the lime juice and stir immediately. The lime juice will help keep the bananas from turning brown. Add the sugar, vinegar, and salt and stir. Then add the jalapeno. Stir to mix, then set aside for five minutes. Sample the mixture and adjust the flavor to your taste. You may want more lime juice, sugar, salt, or even vinegar. Over the next hour the sugar will begin to draw plenty of liquid from the fruit.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Source: Brian O’Rourke