Verdant green cilantro we found last week in our Ranui Gardens CSA box. As always, we trimmed the bottoms a wee bit, stuck the bunch in a container of water and left it in the fridge, complete with a plastic bag cover.
So when a gal-friend from Heber beat the frost to her garden and picked a bag of tomatillos, I became the happy recipient who blended up a batch of green salsa. Yield: two full pint jars for stash and two eight-ounce jars for giveaways. I popped them in the freezer since I was too lazy to boil them in a water bath for 25 minutes, which is about the time it takes to stave off room temperature spoilage.
This is a recipe straight from Oaxaca Mexico. When I took a cooking class there, we blackened tomatillos, chiles, onion and garlic over high heat on a comal, a round metal or clay dish place directly over the flame.
Here in my kitchen, because this was a rather large batch, I broiled the tomatillos and chiles in the oven, though if it had not been so cold, I would have used the Weber grill on the back deck.
I own a small cast iron comal and used that to char the garlic and onions. You can use a cast iron skillet instead. Roasting brings out the sweetness in the tomatillos and chiles, and the char adds mysterious depth of flavor.
A faster option is to boil everything and blend—the salsa will be thinner, runnier. Keep the seeds and veins in the chiles. I thought the result was perfectly picante, though Robbie swore he couldn’t feel any chile heat on his tongue. (He likes it hot and as a rule tolerates a lot more picante heat than I.)
Green salsa is fabulous poured over corn tortillas filled with cheese—green enchiladas.
Salsa Verde (Green Salsa)
2 3/4 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 serrano and 1 jalapeño chiles
1 large onion
7 or 8 cloves garlic, peeled but kept whole
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons Real Salt
Line a baking sheet with foil. Roast the tomatillos and chiles on that pan, close to the broiler flame, until slightly blackened on all sides. You will need to move things around to get them evenly charred.
Peel the onion and cut in half. Slice each side into half-rings ¼-inch thick, keeping the halves fairly intact. On a stovetop, heat the comal or cast iron skillet on high flame. Toast the garlic on all sides, and the onions, cut side down until nicely charred.
Fill the blender ¾ full with tomatillos. Puree. As the tomatillos break down, add the remaining tomatillos along with the chiles, onion and garlic. When all is broken down, add the cilantro and salt; blend just until there are bits of cilantro throughout the salsa. Your blender will be full.
Pour into jars and freeze or give away, cautioning your giftees to either freeze or enjoy within the week.