Monday, July 03, 2006

Salsa Verde

I've been out of commission and leaving T to the posting, but yesterday, with the prospect of no work today, I decided to put together my favorite salsa verde. I've been working on it for a long time and never have been able to get the consistency I am after . . .until tonight! Special thanks to the Arlington, Texas crew from ZuZu's -- Anne, Michelle, Bev, and Mijo.

Salsa Verde

14 healthy tomatillos (golf-ballish size)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
1 medium jalapeno
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 bunch cilantro
1 tsp honey
2 ripe avocados
1 beautiful ripe tomato
Juice of two loose limes

TOMATILLOS: Halve the tomatillos and throw them in a 9x12 casserole dish. A rimmed baking sheet is fine, but I find it gets very sticky. Toss the tomatillos with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast them on BROIL for about 12 minutes. What you want is a nicely bruised tomatillo that has started losing its juices. Don't go for the full on skin blister unless you want a very deep roasted flavor. Let them cool and place the tomatoillos, skins, juices, everything, in the food processor.

JALAPENO:At the same time, ROAST the jalapeno. I throw the jalapeno in the toaster oven, but it would be fine in the oven with the tomatillos. I really like the sharp high notes that the jalapeno has and the roasting tempers it only a bit. Many people use a siracha pepper in salsa verde and I think this is fine, just different. You may want to de-seed and de-vein the jalapeno before tossing it in the food processor, but I don't. Most people like the kick.

AVOCADOS:Find two wonderfully ripe avocados. You'll be ok if they are a day away or so, but other than that, I would wait. We're going for a smooth texture here and the under-ripe tend to be too chunky. Toss them in the food processor with the rest of their friends.

CILANTRO: This is not one of those recipes for folks that don't like cilantro. In fact, this could be called cilantro lover's salsa verde. Wash the cilantro and use about a cup and a half of leaves. This salsa basically gets pulverized, so no worries if a stem or ten get in. You guessed right, throw it in the food processor.

LIME JUICE:You know those tight limes? The ones that just don't give up the juice. Let's not pretend that using one of those is the same as using a deliciously squeezy one. Lime is where it's at in this salsa. Roll your limes on a cuting board or counter before squeezing the juice out. We want a fresh kicky lime taste! Pour the lime juice into the food processor.

Now add the garlic, cumin, chili powder and honey. Finally, add a medium-sized red tomato. This really completes the flavors, adds a bit of liquid, cools down the jalapeno a bit. A little yang for the yin, ya know?

Now, run the processor. I like to use the pulse feature, but you do want this pretty well blended. Work with the taste.

What you don't want is that very delicious clear salsa verde you see at most restaurants. The avocado should take care of that and smooth things out a bit. We're going for piquant and just on the very edge of creamy, citrusy hot with a gentle tap of the sweet meter, clean with complexity and flavor layers.

I enjoy this salsa on fresh tortillas, with tostada chips, as a marinade for chicken, as a sauce for enchiladas and more!


ScottE. said...

Sounds great, thanks for sharing. Might have to give it a try now that my aversion to avocados has lessened and I am starting to enjoy them. But now I must find tomatillos. I'm sure I've seen them at My your Giant.

Kris said...

Love your site - always good to find DC bloggers who love the joys of food (and wine!)

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

Nice post. I especially like the little pics next to the ingredients. Spices things up a bit (No pun intended).

Anonymous said...

You wouldn't by chance have Zuzu's Salsa Rojo Pablano recipe would you? Oh man we used to love that place...

The basic ingredients were:
Roma Tomatos, Cilantro, "Citrus Juices", Roasted Pablano & Serrano Peppers, Chunky Stewed tomatos, Purple Onion.

But we don't have the proportions..

Thanks for the salsa verde recipe, we loved that also!