Thursday, June 11, 2009

Green sauce

This is my new favorite condiment; a homemade tomatillo-serrano pepper salsa. I made it for the first time last weekend along with two other kinds of salsa, and this was by far the best of the lot. I just got done with another batch tonight.

After reading a few different recipes and techniques, this is what I came up with. The tomatillos are quite tart and add a nice citrus-like acidity (a little sugar balances this out). I like using serrano peppers in my salsas because I think they taste fresher and brighter than jalapenos. Pan roasting most of the ingredients in a dry skillet helps to produce a roasted flavor. And, I just love the green color!

My tomatillo-serrano pepper salsa

-3/4 lb. tomatillos (approximately 5 slightly larger than golf ball sized), husked and rinsed
-2 serrano chilies, whole
-A 3/4 inch thick slab of sweet yellow onion
-3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
-1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
-1 1/2 tsp. sugar
-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
-A few grinds of black pepper
-2 T. water (to thin it out just a bit)

In a dry skillet over medium high heat, add the tomatillos, serranos, onion, and unpeeled garlic cloves. The object is to slightly char the outsides of the tomatillos, chilies, and the onion (but not cook them through), and also to soften and cook the garlic just a little bit. Don't be afraid to let some nice black spots develop. This adds good flavor.

Once all of those items have been charred to your liking, you can toss the tomatillos and onion right into the blender. When the serrano peppers are cool enough to handle, slice them open and remove the seeds and veins (Be careful when handling chile pepper guts! Don't go rubbing your eyes or anything!). Add the serranos to the blender. Peel the garlic cloves and toss them into the blender, along with the cilantro, sugar, salt and pepper.

Pulse until you have a slightly textured salsa. You can add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out. Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups of salsa.

This is actually a very mild salsa because I remove all of the seeds and veins from the chiles (Or leave them in if you want it really spicy. You won't hurt my feelings!). But it seems to be pretty well balanced in a sweet/tart way, and any heat from the chilies won't overpower your food. So far, I have found it is good one just about anything; including this pan roasted salmon fillet dusted with ancho chile powder! Yum.

Roasted salmon dusted with ancho chile powder and topped with the good stuff

And in case you haven't guessed, there was no running today. Just cooking! :)

Yours in green sauce,

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