Justin likes to call posts like this my “Night Time Cooking Series.” AKA my “Shit Light Set Up Series.” I usually get the desire to bake or cook at about 10 or 11 at night. That’s usually when the sun has long stopped being out and I’m too lazy to get out my umbrella light. But not too lazy to make a batch of granola, banana bread, and salsa. I know, I’m weird.
Anyway, tomatillos are in abundance at the farmer’s market so Justin has been bringing them home every weekend. I had never made tomatillo salsa before this summer and now I love the stuff. I put peppers in it because I have a hard time not putting peppers in things.
I like to keep this salsa really simple because the tomatillo has such a unique and complex flavor that you don’t want to mask. At least I don’t. There are other recipes that put coriander and cumin and green onion and chili peppers and oregano and other such nonsense in their salsas. This salsa is about honoring the flavor of the tomatillo.
5 Tomatillos (broiled)
2 medium peppers (broiled, I’m using 3 small)
1/2 lime (juice)
1/2 red onion (broiled)
1 garlic clove (broiled)
1 tbsp cilantro (dried)
salt to taste
1 Jalapeno or 1 serrano (broiled)
Turn on your broiler. You can either broil these, roast them in the oven, or roast them on the stove top. Some recipes tell you to boil the tomatillo, I wouldn’t do this. You’re going to lose a lot of your flavor in the water that way and it mellows the flavor of the tomatillo.
Why would you do that?
You can also do everything raw, but roasting unlocks a depth of flavor that you wouldn’t experience otherwise. Up to you. Sometimes I have my red salsas raw, but a tomatillo is special, you should treat it as such. If you do decide to have it raw, the salsa will be a lot more citrusy and you may want to forego the lime juice.
Remove the husk from your tomatillos and wash. Cut them in half along with your peppers. Leave your garlic clove intact.
The purple peppers you see in the background, while they look fancy are nothing that special. Their taste is similar to that of a green pepper and when they cook they turn an off white color. Still, they’re pretty and fun to use from time to time. If you get one that’s a merlot color then that will taste more like a red pepper.
While you may be tempted to be fancy and get a red or yellow pepper think about it before you do. Tomatillos are sweet on their own and a red pepper is sweet. If you want a very sweet salsa then this may be a good choice for you. But the slight bitterness of an unripe pepper (read green or light purple in this case) helps to balance out that sweetness.
Put everything cut side down on a baking sheet cut side down. No need to oil. You can lightly salt here.
Broil for 5-8 minutes, I think I was 7 minutes here. If you have a lot of numminess stuck on the bottom of your pan you can add your lime juice here to help remove it. Salting before you broil will help avoid that though because the peppers and tomatillo will release a little bit more water. Make sure you add this water loss into your blender later.
Place in a bowl and cover for a couple minutes to let the steam work it’s magic and loosen the skin a bit.
Add the juice of 1/2 a lime to your blender or processor along with your cilantro.
If you don’t like the taste of cilantro consider trying dried cilantro. I find fresh cilantro a little over powering in most dishes but I don’t feel that way with dried. So maybe it’s something you would like if you find yourself hating things with cilantro.
Peel your garlic. Add everything to your blender or food processor and blend. Don’t worry about removing all the charred parts. They give the salsa a subtle smokey flavor that balances out the acidic nature of the tomatillo. If you’re worried about cancer then I guess remove the charred parts, but guess what, reading this post is giving you cancer, breathing gives you cancer. Wake up and live your life and eat the damn charred parts of your tomatillos. Even if they kill you’ll have died of something else long before…
Decide how smooth or chunky you want it to be.
Salt to taste and enjoy. If you want it with some spice add a jalapeno or serrano pepper in with your broiling. While I love spicy salsas I feel the sweet, sour flavor of the tomatillo lends itself better to a non spicy salsa.