Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

I first tasted a tangy tomatillo salsa over 15 years ago at a cooking class in Albuquerque, New Mexico and it's been a favorite of mine ever since. It isn't a unique condiment, newly-foodie or even a weird recipe. You can find thousands of recipes online (try a Google search and check it out). AmateurGourmet posted his smooth version in January, Rick Bayless's pureed version is referenced in scads of blogs. Why bother with this post? Just because it's just a darned good salsa and I made a large batch. 

Tomatillos and poblano chiles are always present in my galley, two important and versatile ingredients to act as supporting players in many entrees, sauces and side dishes. They are typically blistered roasted under a broiler, chopped in a blender and cooked in a sauce or added to a filling (link). But not today. Today they were featured in raw form, two starring players in a fresh, crisp salsa verde. I prefer this recipe to the original cooking school version of long ago; it's a personal preference for crunchy, chunky salsa vs. pureed, soupy salsa. (Note:The original cooking school recipe is still found online and in a video here.)

Warning! Don't bother making this with canned tomatillos, they just won't work! There's a tinny, canned, not-so-pleasant taste and slippery-almost-slimey texture that comes along with the canned version. Ugggggh. Okay, I can stop now, that's out of the way.

Photo: Tomatillo Salsa tops a Taco and flavors rice
The salsa is a terrific stand-alone condiment to enjoy with chips, or to add to tacos, quesadillas, omelets, hamburgers, hot dogs, corn salad, tortilla soup, black bean soup, guacamole, dips, or even stir into a bowl of cooked rice or beans. Use a food processor or coarsely chop the ingredients by hand, either way this salsa is a quick prep. Add a little sour cream and mayonnaise for a creamy, slightly tamer version if you prefer. Add some chopped avocado for an extra bit of deliciousness.  

Chop, blend and season a batch of Tomatillo Salsa Fresca soon - it won't change your life but I'll bet you'll enjoy the fresh, tangy taste. 

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

5 or 6 large tomatillos, husked & chopped
2 poblano chiles, seeded & chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
4 green onions, white & green parts, chopped
zest and juice of 1 small lime
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, rough chopped
Salt to taste
Hot sauce or green tabasco to taste (optional)

Process tomatillos, poblano and red onion separately in food processor until coarsely chopped (but not pureed!) Add to a medium-sized bowl, draining off most of the tomatillo liquid. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Let sit 10 or 15 minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Too tart? ad a bit of sugar. Too bland? add more salt and some hot sauce. Too spicy hot from the poblanos? add a little sour cream and mayonnaise, but not too much or you'll have a sandwich spread instead of a salsa.

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