Thursday, August 5, 2010

You can make this yourself: Green Salsa!

Dear readers,
It has been a hot and humid summer, the city is emptying out for August vacations, and we are coming up on a weekend of Red Sox-Yankees action. All of these factors are contributing to good moods, good times and an excitement about the food and sporting events that I will get to consume over the next few days.

With that in mind, I want to share a super easy salsa recipe that is perfect for a hot summer day, a bbq, sitting on the couch watching sports, or an accompaniment to a multitude of dishes- my favorite, Tomatillo salsa.

Tomatillos are small-to-medium sized hard, green tomatos that have a papery husk on them.

I am by no means an expert at picking tomatillos, and have been known to get home, peel the husks off my tomatillos, only to find a couple that have rotten spots. I always feel a little shy about peeling back the husk on a tomatillo (and corn) in the store- will I ruin it? will the store owners yell at me for defiling a vegetable I don't intend to buy? I think I am a little scarred by something that happened when I was younger at Kay's Market on Mt. Auburn St. in Watertown, MA. While it is now closed, it was a great produce place, with some similarities in terms of price and selection to my current love Rossman Farms. One of the unique aspects of Kay's market was Kay himself: A middle-aged middle eastern man who stood behind the register chewing on a large, unlit cigar, chattering nonstop with employees and customers alike, oftentimes throwing out sarcastic remarks as he weighed the produce and rang it up on his old-school cash register.
One afternoon as a teenager, I was at Kay's with my mother, and she asked me to get cherries. I headed over to the bin and started looking through the cherries, picking them up a few at a time and putting them into a plastic bag. As it often goes when selecting cherries, I was trying to strike a good quality/quantity selection balance. Not wanting to select them one at a time, but worried about too many bruised/rotten cherries in large handfuls. This led to me moving cherries from the top of the bin aside, and gently putting a ~half handful in the plastic bag. After a few "push aside, take a bunch" moves, I heard someone saying in a loud voice "Hey! Girlie! HEY! GIRLIE! You lookin' for a diamond ring in there?!" I turned my head to see Kay, chewing on his cigar, head turned in my direction, questioning look on his face. I panicked a bit, shoved some more cherries into the plastic bag and handed them to my mom.
soooo. i guess i can be a little sensitive about "over-examining" produce (do you pull back the corn husks to look at the kernels at the top of the ear? I don't)

But I digress. Tomatillo salsa is very easy to make:
Peel the husks off, and rinse about a pound of fresh tomatillos
Peel 3 or 4 cloves of garlic

In a roasting pan, or a cookie sheet, or basically whatever you have on hand, put the tomatillos and garlic.

Put the oven on Broil, and place the pan on the top rack, close to the broiler. Broil for about 5-10 minutes, turning the tomatillos and garlic once, until the skin is charred a bit. As they cook, the tomatillos may release some of their juices, that you want to capture, so it's a good idea, if you do your roasting on an older cookie sheet (like I do) then you may want to cover it in aluminum foil. This will also make it easier to capture the tomatillo juices that might be released during roasting.

Once you are done roasting, let the tomatillos cool a bit, and then get your food processor ready!
~1 small onion, roughly chopped
~2 tablespoons of cilantro
1 jalapeno, chopped coarsley
Juice of ~2 limes

Put all of the above ingredients into the food processor with the tomatillos, the garlic, and any of the juices from the tomatillos, press the button, and voila! green salsa!

It's a beautiful, refreshing salsa. You can mix this up in any variety of ways- you can roast the jalapeno with the tomatillos and garlic, you don't have to include jalapenos at all- make it and see what you prefer.

Get to it!


  1. Great story this is rob, oh no wait this is the rob!

  2. This is now actually Kitty, and I too think this is an awesome post! I particularly appreciate the tip about covering with foil when roasting. I have had bad luck in the past with my tomatillos getting too browned. Excited to try this!