Friday, October 19, 2012

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

A guest post from Toni at Boulder Locavore

As the sweltering heat of summer turns to the chill of fall, it’s usually a signal for me to start turning the bounty of the harvest into goods for winter. A few years ago I got a wild hair to see if I could eat over a Colorado winter sourcing the protein and produce I ate only from a Michael-Pollan-100 mile radius. I dove headlong into food keeping practices such as canning, freezing, dehydrating and root cellaring. Quite frankly I canned so many tomatoes my first year (150 pounds to be exact) I never wanted to see anything made with tomatoes again for a long time!

As luck would have it, around that time I discovered Tomatillos.  Odd little things, I was not sure if they were fruit or vegetables, let alone what to do with them.  Loving a challenge and new discovery I spent some time chatting with the farmers at the local Farmer’s Market about what the heck a person would do with tomatillos; which is when I learned they are used in a number of different sauces and salsas.  Since then I have run into them everywhere but I was not even sure what they would taste like upon first casting my eyes on them.

Determined to make something delicious I settled on a roasted salsa.  It was simple and straightforward with a wonderful end flavor which has become a favorite in my household.  The tomatillos bear a light, sweet quality, as you’d identify in a tomato (though the overall flavor is different than a tomato) and they blend perfectly with the spicy heat of the chilies.  This salsa is great for enjoying simply with chips or would make a beautiful sauce on grilled meats as well.  I have frozen the salsa too (in much more civilized amounts than the tomato endeavor) with great results when thawing to enjoy during the winter months.


This salsa is a unique blend of spicy and sweet, along with more traditional salsa flavor notes of cilantro and onion, and could not be simpler to make.  Try to use peppers that are red to add some color contrast to the visual of the salsa!
Yield: Approximately 6 cups
Time required: 15-20 minutes

3 pounds of tomatillos
A large onion
4 Serrano chilies, de-stemmed and seeded*
2 jalapeno (large), de-stemmed and seeded*
Garlic, 5 cloves, unpeeled
Salt, two large pinches (about 2 teaspoons)
Cilantro, 1 cup

*A note on handling chilies; whenever handling spicy chilies like those in this recipe I highly recommend using gloves.  The oil from the chilies travels easily on the skin and getting it in your eyes, nose or mouth is something to be avoided!

1. Preheat the broiler.  Line two cookie sheets with foil.

2. Husk the tomatillos and rinse them. Note: their skin has a tacky feel which will not rinse off completely.

3. Place tomatillos, chilies and the unpeeled garlic cloves on the cookie sheet. Put them under the broiler checking them every few minutes until they char (approximately 7-10 minutes for the tomatillos and faster for the chilies). If the chilies char first, remove them, set aside and allow the rest of the ingredients to complete roasting.

4. While other ingredients are broiling, peel and cut the onion into large chunks and put it into the food processor bowl or blender to await the rest of the ingredients.

5. When the tomatillos are done roasting let them cool until able to be handles and place them into the food processor bowl. Squeeze the contents of the garlic cloves into the food processor bowl ensuring the peel does not go into the salsa.  Toss in the cilantro and salt. Process all ingredients until reaching a pureed salsa consistency.  Enjoy!

Like this post? Want more? Don't forget to stop by Boulder Locavore for more recipes! It's not just for Boulder locals, it's a food blog for everyone who wants to cook and eat fresh, local, seasonal, and delicious food. And Toni is a real sweetheart. You'll love her blog, I'm sure.