Salsa verde… green salsa. I never knew what it was. I knew it was good but that was about it. Then one day, bored at work (haha), I was reading a magazine. I stumbled upon some celebrity chef’s Mexican feast. In it was a recipe for tomatillo salsa. Huh, I thought. I was amazed to actually find tomatillos, this odd fruit/vegetable that I had never heard of before, at my small midwest town grocer. Who knew?! That salsa was amazing. I’ve been making some version of it ever since.
I always cook the tomatillos in some manner. Most of the time you boil them. This time I got crazy and roasted them along with all of the vegetables. I was going for another layer of flavor that you wouldn’t get from just boiling. I also thought roasting the onion and garlic would mellow out their flavors. The result was pretty darn tasty.
You don’t have to actually do much to the tomatillos in order to prep them. You remove the husk and give them a good rinse. If you’ve never used them before, you might be surprised to find that they’re really sticky underneath the husk! Fun facts: tomatillos are related to the gooseberry and a part of the nightshade family. They were domesticated by the Aztecs around 800 B.C., which makes them one of our most ancient food-bearing plants! The sticky film is a defense against bugs who find the stickiness and taste of that film rather unappealing. If you (you cunning human) can get past the sticky residue and into the fruit, you will find they have a citrusy, sweet flavor. In turn making them perfect for salsa. Those Aztecs, they were wise beyond their years!
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
- 1 lb tomatillos
- 1 small sweet onion
- 1-2 jalapeños
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- juice of 1 lime
- salt to taste
Preheat oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse them in cold water to remove the sticky residue, cut them in half. Roughly chop the onion, peel the garlic, and remove the seeds form the jalapeño(s). Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapeños on the baking sheet. Roast until vegetables are slightly tender and charred/golden. Start checking at 15 min.
Place all ingredients, now including the cilantro, lime, and salt into the bowl of food processor or blender jar. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Chill for 2 hrs before serving. Enjoy with salty tortilla chips or atop your favorite taco!
- If it sets almost gel-like after sitting, that's normal. Just give it a stir.
- This salsa freezes well!