If there are two bowls of salsa on the table, a verde and a roja – excuse me, would you please pass the chips? – I’m going for the green one every time. Nothing against the red, mind you, but to me, salsa verde is a more exotic creature (Tomatillos in France? Ha! Non.), and it’s more complex than the red one, with the subtle sweetness and tang of tomatillos, fire from jalapeños, and smokiness from the charred vegetables and the half-burnt corn tortilla, something Roberto Espinosa, founder of Tacodeli, told me he adds to his salsas.
Warmed up, salsa verde sings – and loves being spooned over scrambled eggs in tortillas, over lighter things, like roasted summer vegetables, chicken, shrimp, or fish. Or anything in tortillas, actually. Even just a tortilla, curled up like a cigar. Nothing wrong with that.
Salsa verde is super-easy to make, but it’s best to have a cast-iron skillet or comal (the same thing, but without sides) dedicated to the task – because inevitably, blackened bits of tomatillo or jalapeño will adhere to the skillet and not want to let go. You’ll scrub. You’ll say things you shouldn’t. You might throw the skillet in the backyard, like my grandmother used to do when she’d burn her pots and pans, only to be retrieved by my grandfather, who would clean them up and return them to their rightful spot in the cabinet. You’ll eventually give up and say, “Ok, then, this will be my skillet for roasting salsa veggies,” and that will be that. I do not have a magic answer for spic-and-span skillet cleaning here. We have Pinterest for that.
Make it anyway. Make it in the morning, while it’s still cool outside, put it in the fridge, and then spoon it on top whatever you’ve dreamed up for dinner. If you’re at my house, that’s probably a taco.
Makes about 2 cups
(This is an updated version of an older recipe.)
- 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
- 2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
- ½ medium white onion, sliced into quarters
- 2 small fresh jalapeños
- sea salt to taste
- 1 corn tortilla
- 1 handful cilantro
- Roast the tomatillos, garlic, onions, and jalapeños on a comal or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, turning every so often to make sure all sides are browned. This’ll take about 15 minutes and you may need to do this in batches – the tomatillos first, because they’ll take the longest, then the rest.
- While the veggies are roasting, on top of another burner or under the broiler, toast the corn tortilla on both sides.
3. Peel the garlic and put everything but the jalapeños in the blender.
- Cut the stems off of the jalapeños, slice them open, and take out the seeds and membranes if you want a milder salsa; don’t mess with them if you like it hot. Toss 1 jalapeño into your blender. Taste. If it’s too mild after I’ve blended everything, I’ll toss in the second one.
- Add a big handful of cilantro to the blender and pulse until blended –not too much, because you’ll want this to be chunky. Add salt to taste. I love this salsa with everything, and like it especially warmed up – chips, over eggs, on tacos — you name it. Keep this in the fridge. If you want to warm it up the next day, you’ll need to add just a little bit of water (it thickens up like crazy) and slowly heat it up over the stovetop.