Thursday, March 21, 2013

Simple Salsa Verde


I love salsa verde. Tangy and intensely green, it's especially appealing at this time of year - like a spring tonic after months of slightly stodgy root vegetables and heavy winter food. So when tomatillos (salsa verde's key ingredient) showed up at our village grocer's the other week, I couldn't resist buying some.

Tomatillos, like tomatoes, belong to the nightshade family - but tomatillos are firmer than their tomato cousins, and much more tart. A mature tomatillo is bright green, and may be covered with a papery husk; the skin has a slightly sticky coating which remains even after washing (this is entirely normal).

The ingredients for salsa verde are simple and few: raw or roasted tomatillos, hot peppers, scallions, cilantro, and salt - all whirled together into a chunky sauce.

Go green!
(¿Vaya verde?)

I like to core, then roast the tomatillos slightly to release their juices and intensify the flavour - but you can skip these steps if you like. (Coring creates a little well to collect the tangy juice.)


Try salsa verde layered with cheese in quesadillas, or spooned over eggs for a lively take on huevos rancheros. As a topping for chicken enchiladas, it makes a pleasant change from red sauce. I've even used it, with grated jack cheese, as a filling for yeast rolls. (Perilously delicious.)

Wake up your eggs with salsa verde

Salsa verde is also the perfect complement to pork. We drizzled ours over simple tacos filled with what I call "cheater carnitas" (pork roasted in a crockpot until tender, removed from drippings and shredded in a shallow layer on a sheet pan, then sprinkled with chopped onion and heated in a 350º oven until onions are soft and meat is crispy at the tips).

Mmmmm

Simple Salsa Verde - yields about 2 cups

3/4 lb. tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and stemmed (about 6 medium fruit)
3 serrano peppers, coarsely chopped
(I am a spicy-food wimp, so I use one jalapeño with seeds and ribs removed)
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1 bunch scallions (green onions), coarsely chopped
1 large bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Lightly core and roast tomatillos (if desired) under broiler for 5-7 minutes until juicy and slightly charred. Cool slightly (or completely - either is fine). Do not chop roasted fruit or you'll lose the flavourful juice.

(If you skip the roasting step, coarsely chop the raw tomatillos, and add a few tablespoons of water when blending your salsa to attain desired texture.)

In a blender or food processor, puree tomatillos and chopped pepper(s) until chunky. Add remaining ingredients and puree until no large chunks remain. Enjoy!




Salsa verde keeps for about a week in the refrigerator - if you can make it last that long. We had no problem polishing off this batch in record time. (In fact Mr. M likes to scoop it up with a spoon and eat it plain.)

You can of course buy salsa verde in a jar - I like Herdez brand for its authenticity and short ingredient list (preservative-free, and no mysterious "natural flavors" or "spices" which are usually a cover for MSG). But sometimes it's just more fun to make your own.

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38 comments:

  1. Yummy! We these green delights in our food co-op a couple of weeks ago and did not know what to do with them, had no idea they were the main ingredient in salsa verde. I'll keep this recipe tagged for the next time they show up. Thank you! Looks so delicious.

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    1. No problem! It's very very delicious. :)

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  2. Yum! :)

    I am looking forward to your crochet design that will be coming out in November. :)

    Blessings always

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  3. Yummo! Every culture has some sort of relish that they prepare as an accompaniment to dishes. The Palestinians make one with green pepper, onions, carrots and I don't know what else all preserved in the most delicious olive oil and it is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good! Have a fabulous day. Tammy

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    1. It sounds wonderful. I'll have to Google that! Thanks Tammy. :)

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  4. Looks good! And don't think of your self as a "wimp" when it comes to spicy foods - you are probably just a "super taster"; that is a person who has more taste buds per square centimeter on their tongues than most people do. That makes you much more sensitive to the heat in those jalapenos!

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    1. Oh - I like that explanation. "Super Taster". Now I need to find a cape.... :)

      (My husband can eat the hottest food AND enjoy it even as the sweat beads up on his forehead.)

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  5. 'Nightshade Family' -grin- I like the sound of that!!!! ,-)

    Since I don't do well, with hot/spicy food, guess I'll have to pass on this. Although I'm sure it is delicious, if you aren't me.

    "Auntie"

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    1. Yes, it sounds so delightfully sinister, doesn't it? Bwahahaha.

      Actually, Auntie, if you remove the seeds and ribs from a jalapeño it's barely spicy at all. A tiny punch but that's about it. :)

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  6. Are you taking reservations for dinner?? 8-) Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Well we do have a sign on the door that says "Cafe Perez" but it's really just for fun. :)

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  7. Wait a minute; I expected an ode to Bach today!

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    1. Alas, the Muse would not descend. But I'm sure he enjoyed his birthday in heaven. :)

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  8. Sounds good except for the cilantro, I'm one of those people with a real aversion to it.

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    1. I know that it just doesn't work for some folks. But we love the stuff. :)

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  9. Sounds very yummy. I have never bought tomatillos, I'm not sure how readily available they are over here. I think I'd love it though. I also fancy trying your pork recipe. Hope you have a lovely weekend. Juliex

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    1. Thanks Julie - I don't know if they're available across the pond or not. I can't seem to find any European equivalents. Have a wonderful weekend yourself! :)

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  10. Sounds great! My favourite colour is GREEN at the moment to honour (or force) SPRING! Happy weekend. Regula

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    1. Ah yes - we are longing to see the grass again. It must be down there somewhere under all that WHITE stuff! :)

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  11. Thanks for the play by play. Ive always wanted to make this but the tomatillo roasting throws me..
    YOU have made it look do able! Thanks!

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    1. Gosh, it's really quick and easy. You don't even need to roast them. Just chop 'em up and toss them in the food processor. A woman who can knit like you can surely make salsa verde.... :)

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  12. I'm with Sueh167!!! Taking reservations?!? :)

    I love your cheater carnitas method! Brilliant!

    I love all south of the border spiciness, and salsa verde is no exception. I think everything I can DIY is so much better than anything store-bought. There's just no comparison to freshly grown spices!

    Your recipe and photographs once again have made me drool. Next time we have a water shortage, all I have to do is tip my keyboard over and drain it...

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    1. Ew. :)

      I thought you'd like this recipe. And the cheater carnitas are so much easier than the authentic kind. (But really there's nothing like frying up pounds of pork in gallons of lard to get that amazing flavour, is there?)

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  13. I don't know if you eat chicken but I put chicken in a crock pot, put a jar of salsa verde in and cook away, it smells delish and at the very end I add a bit of sour cream, YUM!
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  14. Thanks for teaching me all about a yumminess new to me. I am hungry and going to make some lunch, although I don't have any salsa verde yet :)
    xx,
    Gracie

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    1. You're welcome, Gracie! You must have some good Mexican restaurants up your way.... :)

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  15. Hi, Yes, you can say: Vaya verde or Qué verde. Salsa verde simple or sencilla

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  16. Yum! What a post to read when I am starving. I love taste and smell of these roasted.

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    1. Me too. There are 6 more on my counter waiting to be made into another batch.... :)

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  17. Salsa Verde looks and sounds delicious. Thanks for the visit to my blog and the good wishes!

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  18. Replies
    1. It does, doesn't it? Very hard to resist anything bright green right now. :)

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  19. The image itself says it all. It is indeed scrumptious..

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