TomatillosWe have had some beautiful tomatillos at the market lately and keep taking them home to try new dishes like this recipe for Pork Chile Verde.

Tomatillos look like little green tomatoes, usually sold wrapped in their thin, papery husks. When choosing tomatillos, get firm, smooth ones that aren’t too loose in the husk. To cook with them, remove the husks and rinse off the sticky residue before using them.

The tomatillo is also known as the Mexican husk tomato and, like tomatoes, is a member of the nightshade family. These small, green or green-purple fruit originated in Mexico and were cultivated in the pre-Columbian era. A staple of Mexican cuisine, they are eaten raw or cooked in a variety of dishes, particularly (our favorite) salsa verde.

Mexican salsa verde is a tart, vibrantly green sauce with a base of tomatillos, chiles, and cilantro. Our recipe for Roasted Salsa Verde is full of flavor and extremely versatile. While tomato-based salsas are popular, salsa verde translates into green salsa—with the green color coming from the tomatillos.

Tomatillos lend acidity to this salsa, so no lime is needed. For the fresh chile pepper, choose between a jalapeño or serrano. Serranos run spicier. (Just remember, with either pepper, remove the seeds!) The garlic and onion add deep, savory notes, and chopped cilantro brings freshness.

Roasted Salsa Verde
Yields about 1-1/2 cups or 8 servings

This Salsa Verde is amazing on tacos and with chips, but don’t miss its versatility. Try it on eggs with breakfast or as a condiment on barbecued meats. It is a great dipping sauce for vegetables.

1 pound tomatillos (about 12 medium)
3 cloves garlic
1 medium serrano or jalapeño pepper
1/2 cup diced white onion (1/4 medium)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons water

Arrange an oven rack on the top position and pre-heat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Prep the veggies
Peel off any papery husks from the tomatillos. Then rinse them under cold water removing the sticky coating and any dirt. Dry with a clean kitchen towel. Halve the tomatillos and place cut-side down on the lined baking sheet.

Peel 3 garlic cloves and smash them with the flat part of a chef’s knife. Place on the baking sheet.

Trim the stem from 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, then cut it in half lengthwise. Remove the membranes and seeds with a knife. Place them cut-side down on the baking sheet.

Peel 3 garlic cloves and smash with the flat part of a chef’s knife.

Broil the veggies
Broil until the tomatillos and pepper skins start to blacken and blister, checking every few minutes and rotating the baking sheet as needed (about 5 to 7 minutes). If the garlic is charred before the tomatillos are ready, remove it.

Cool to room temperature.

While the veggies are cooling, cube 1/4 white onion (about 1/2 cup). Place the onion in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water to mellow the flavor. Drain well. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems.

Blend the salsa
Transfer the tomatillos, garlic, and pepper to a blender. Add the onion, cilantro, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons water. Blend into your desired consistency.

Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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