A great way to end the summer growing season is to make salsa to last over the winter! Roasted Tomatillo Salsa uses tomatillos, serrano and jalapeno chilies all roasted for a full, robust flavor. Can be frozen!
One of my personal rules when starting my locavore devotion was that I would try new things. I frankly did not grow up in the age of fabulous vegetable preparation. I recall my mother beginning to boil zucchini slices before putting a roast in the oven to cook and her not taking kindly to my brother and I using the see through slimy slices as monocles during dinner since you COULD see through them.
When I go to the Farmer’s Market I try to find things I’m unfamiliar with to try. I usually end up peppering the farmer with questions about how to use or prepare it getting some great suggestions.
This is how I found tomatillos. Frankly in the past they’ve scared me. Odd little husked things. I had no idea how to eat them, prepare them, what they were even related to the food family (thought maybe they were a large nut). I finally decided this was the year. After a long discussion with someone at Isabelle farms I felt encouraged and thought I would end up doing something saucy.
I learned tomatillos are in the tomato family. From the looks of them, a second cousin twice removed me thinketh. I played around and landed on a salsa recipe I think is the bomb. AND what I love most after the flavor? It’s fast baby, and simple. No chopping perse. The flavor has a very interesting sweetness that is offset by the heat of the chilies and the salt. It’s unexpected and something I now crave.
Ok, a personal recipe pet peeve? When someone conveys a recipe and they never use exact measurements or use terms like ‘a bit of this, a dash of that’. Not helpful if you don’t know flavor profile of what you are working with.
Having said all this I will throw myself on the sword to say I’ve found with salsa there is a lot of experimenting to your taste. Three serrano chilies might be mild to me, but to you more like a cartoon where their heads turn red, puff up and blow off their bodies to the sound of a steam train whistle due to the heat. I’ve also noted the flavor intensity of a given ingredient can vary each time I buy it. Do keep that in mind and taste as you go when making any salsa.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
- 3 pounds of Tomatillos
- 1 large Yellow Onion onion , peeled and cut into large pieces
- 4 Serrano Chilies
- 2 large Jalapeno Chilies
- 5 medium Garlic Cloves
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 1 cup fresh Cilantro
- Optional: 1-2 small red sweet peppers (not bell peppers)
Preheat the broiler. Line two baking sheets with foil or cycle the same one through two rounds of broiling.
Husk the tomatillos and rinse them. Note: they have a tackiness to the skin which will not rinse off. Put the tomatillos, the chilies and the unpeeled garlic cloves on the prepared baking sheet (s).
Place the baking sheet(s) under the broiler checking them every few minutes until the tomatillos and chilies char (aproximately 7-10 minutes for the tomatillos and faster for the chilies). Note: if smaller chilies char before the tomatillos,, remove them while the remaining ingredients broil.
Add the onions pieces to the bowl of a food processor.
When the tomatillos are done let them cool for just a few minutes until you can handle them and put them into the food processor bowl. Squeeze the contents of the garlic cloves out of their skin into the food processor bowl, ensuring the peel does not go into the salsa.
Tip: wear protective gloves when handling chilies. Remove the top of the chilies with a sharp knife and discard. Slice the length of the chiiles, open (a dining knife works well for this) and gently scrap out the seeds and inner membrane; discard scraped contents. Add the prepared chilies to the food processor.
Add the cilantro and salt to the food processor. Turn on the food processor and pulverize to a liquid salsa consistency.
Optional: to give the salsa some visual appeal if desired, add the red sweet peppers (not bell peppers) to the food processor. It breaks up the all green appearance!