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
“Make this,” Brian asked. “Please,” he added.
I didn’t care about the magic word. I had looked at the recipe and was skeptical. He was insistent.
I relented, and we made this salsa from James Peterson’s Sauces. I must say it is hot: both temperature wise and chili wise. Brian loves it and I find it good, and certainly different from anything I have ever attempted. I have used Sauces many times, and I think of it as reference for all those French concepts of intense flavor based on meat, poultry, fish, or veggies. I was surprised to find this blazing gem in the book, and Brian seized on it like a brownie.
This is a cooked salsa. Cooked in a pan. Cooked with the cilantro. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever tried. The recipe calls for 2 small hot peppers. That’s a key point. Use no more than two peppers and do make them small. Two jalapenos are ideal. Still, our mouths were on fire.
This tomatillo salsa is cooked with raw, chopped tomatillos put into a pan already containing sweated onion, garlic and peppers. The chopped tomatillos are added and immediately begin to reduce in size as they exude their liquid. The volume of the final salsa is half what you start with.
And, you’ll love this, as you finish this salsa off, you can add a few tablespoons of heavy cream to mellow the heat and create a smoother salsa. This is certainly the only salsa I ever made with heavy cream!
We ate a bowl of this along with a bowl of sweet, cool guacamole. I must say it was fun to dip into one bowl and then the other. Hot salsa in one bowl, chilly avocado in another. The contrast was striking. The beer was a necessity.
Brian is out looking for more tomatillos.
Cooked Tomatillo Salsa
Yield: serves 4
- 1 pound fresh or canned tomatillos
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
- 2 small hot peppers, seeded and chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
If using fresh tomatillos, remove the papery sheath from the outside. I using canned, drain them. Chop the tomatillos in pieces the size of the tip of your index finger.
Sweat the onion, garlic and the hot peppers in the olive oil for 10 minutes, taking care not to burn them.
Add the chopped tomatillos and stew the mixture until the are completely soft. Stir occasionally.
Add the chopped cilantro and cook for 2 to 3 minutes
For a smoother sauce, add 3-4 tablespoons of heavy cream before adding the cilantro.
Source: Sauces by James Peterson