Today we are going to make some Salsa Verde. It's pretty tasty and goes good with chips, and even better on carne asada.
This is a recipe I learned from a Mexican friend of mine in Houston, Tx. In classic Mexican cooking fashion, I never wrote it down and am doing it from memory seven years later.
What makes this salsa green in the use of tomatillos (toe-maw-tea-ohs, which, by the way, are NOT green tomatoes For more info: Tomatillos!). They have a great flavor that many people have yet to experience that is very different from tomato based salsa. Hopefully its love at first bite for you, as it was fro me.
Take ownership of your salsa!
Friends, cooking can be an art or a science. Let's make it an art. Feel free to change this suggested recipe as you like. Want more kick? Throw in some more jalepe�os. Take ownership for your salsa and make it your own. Most of all though, eat well and enjoy life.
Speaking of which, check out this other recipe for Salsa Verde.
Step 1: Ingredients and Tools
Time to gather what you need. At my local market I got all the ingredients for about $4.
1 1/2 lbs Tomatillos
4 Jalape�o Peppers
1 Onion (We'll only use half)
A Bunch of Cilantro (We'll only use a handful)
Good Sharp Knife
Large Sauce Pan
iPod (Cooking should be fun, so bump some tunes. This time around I had Alaska in Winter on.)
Step 2: Prep Tomatillos and Jalapeños
Remove the husks from the tomatillos. Start at the bottom and peal towards the stem, almost like a fat green banana. Then pull off the husk and stem together. Tomatillos tend to be a bit sticky, so no worries when you get a little tacky.
Husks and stems go into the trash (or composter) and tomatillos go into the pan.
Now pull (NOT cut) the stems off the jalape�os.
Again, stems in the trash, and jalape�os in the pan.
Fill the pan with water and place it on high heat on the stove. Allow the water, tomatillos, and jalape�os to boil. We'll get back to them in a moment.
Step 3: Cutting, Chopping, Squeezing, and Other Violent Acts
Now that you've got you've got your tomatillos and jalape�os boiling, lets prep the rest of the ingredients.
Start with your cilantro. Cut the entire bunch in half where the stems meet the leafy goodness and throw away the half that is all stems. Chop the cilantro until you think it is small enough. (Doesn't that just smell great?) Take about a handful and put it in the bowl.
(Note: Remember what I said about taking ownership of your salsa? If you really like cilantro you can throw more in. If you're not the biggest fan, but less in. It's kind of like a choose your own adventure book. I hope it ends in deliciousness!)
Now turn you attention to the onion. Cut it in half, and put half in a bag and wisk it away into the fridge (I'm sure you can find a use for it later). Now remove the skin and chop your remaining half of an onion into nice 1/8 of an inch pieces and toss them into the bowl. Try not to cry too much.
Lime time! Cut your lime in half, then squeeze each half over the bowl, showering its tart juice over the cilantro and onion.
And finally put some salt in. How much is up to you. I put in about a half a teaspoon (I think, I didn't measure)
Step 4: Meanwhile, Back on the Stove . . .
Now, there are two indicators of the doness of your tomatillos.
First, they change color from their beautiful green to sort of a sea sick green. Second, if you harpoon them with the fork the fork will pierce their skin. Try it. Also, some of the tomatillos may burst, but that's fine. Its just their special way of saying they are done.
Don't worry about the jalape�os, they'll be done if the tomatillos are done.
So, are they done yet? If not, clean up the mess you made cutting, if they are lets precede.
Step 5: Adding the Tomatillos and Jalapeños
Use your fork and lift the tomatillos, one at a time, out of the pan and drop them into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients (should give a satisfying 'plop'). Once all of the tomatillos are out, pull the jalapeños out and place them on the cutting board to cools a bit.
Now mash those bad boys into a nice salsaish texture. You could use a blender, but then would that really count as handmade? (Truth be told I usually do use a blender, but I discovered today that my blender, which was a Christmas gift, had been donated to the local high school. Surprised, but not angry, I overcame)
Finally, turn your attention to the jalapeños. When they are cool enough to handle, halve, quarter, and chop them into 1/8 of an inch pieces, just like the onion. Add them to the salsa in the bowl. Once all four are added, mix and mash again until your salsa has a nice consistent texture to it.
Step 6: Try It! Fix It! Eat It!
That's it! Well, maybe. Try your salsa. IF you think it needs it you can trow in some more salt or cilantro or whatever.
Tastes great, no?
Again, while this is a good salsa for dipping, it is great on carne asada.
Thanks for cooking with me.