I am always on the lookout for different types of sauces to add to my repertoire. I covet and hoard them like a chipmunk hiding nuts for the winter. I keep a separate notebook just for them. They are, along with spice mixes, the secret weapons that you should always keep a plethora of on hand. They can take an uninspired dish to limitless heights. Weeknight dinners will never again be boring when you have a variety of sauces that you can choose to cook with. I am going to share with you the sauces that I like to keep in my refrigerator to make meal time that much easier and exciting. This roasted tomatillo salsa is the first in this series.
Green sauces and various chili sauces are a staple in my kitchen. In fact, jars upon jars of them take up so much space in my fridge that I am always having to cram other things in despairing of ever having enough room. Like I said, I hoard sauces. This roasted tomatillo salsa is in no way revolutionary and most definitely has been written about over and over ad nauseam. But something so classic, so simple, so delicious, and so versatile SHOULD be written about repeatedly. It should always remains at the forefront of people’s minds. The roasting of just four ingredients creates something that touches all those sensitive little taste buds in your mouth. All five elements of you tassalty, sour, bitter, sweet and umami.
A native of Mexico, tomatillos have played an important role in the region’s food since the time of the ancient Maya and Aztec. This sauce or a variation of it is featured in many of the most important dishes of Mexican cuisine. You will always find it as one of your salsa options at every taco stand in Mexico. In addition to eaten as is, it is also a great base sauce for cooked dishes like enchiladas. Wonderfully, tomatillos only intensify in flavor as you cook them. Roasting them under the broiler concentrates their sharp tangy flavor and brings out their subtle sweetness. Liberally flecked with charred skin, this salsa’s smokey complexity belies the simplicity of the labor required.
In a later post, I will be making an egg dish inspired by a brekkie that I ate in Australia. This sauce will feature prominently so make this now and stayed tuned for a delicious breakfast dish!
R O A S T E D T O M A T I L L O S A L S A
makes about 16 ounces
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and quartered
4 garlic cloves, skin on
1 1/2 -2 fresh serrano chilies
1 medium white onion, half thickly sliced, half thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro
salt to taste
On a rimmed baking sheet, broil the tomatillos, garlic, serrano chile, and the thick slices of onion. Make sure the vegetables are as close to the preheated broiler as possible. The tomatillos will take about 10 to 12 minutes; the other vegetables will take less time. Turn the vegetables when one side is charred and blackened in spots. The tomatillos are done when they are soft and starting to let out juice.
When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the garlic and the stem of the chile. Add everything, including any liquid from the vegetables and the cilantro, to a food processor. Blend until a coarse purée forms. Salt to taste.
Note: I will be making a couple recipes with this sauce so you can and should double or triple this recipe and make multiple jars. If you decide to do that, you can process the jars so that they last. Use soap and warm water to clean glass canning jars and their lids. Place them into a large pot and cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and carefully remove with tongs. While the jar is still hot, spoon in the salsa. Tightly screw on the lid and return to the pot. Bring everything back up to a boil and then continue boiling for 15 minutes. Remove from the water bath and allow to cool. The jar is sealed when the lid makes a popping sound.
This will keep outside of the fridge but make sure to refrigerate after opening. I’m not sure exactly how long they should last outside of the fridge, because I use them up so quickly. Just stick to the motto, if it looks and smells wrong then it’s most likely bad.
Now what? Make the below recipes with your salsa!
Eggs Baked in Tomatillo Salsa + Spiced Yogurt with Mexican Chorizo
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