Tomatillos and Salsa Verde

tomatillos 1 5.11.13Basically the same ingredients as last week. But a different preparation…and you have salsa verde. Green sauce.

Another basic that tomatillos are perfect for, and that I hesitated to make in the past, because somewhere in the back of my head I was thinking, “Don’t you have to do something to them first?” That extra little vague step that I hadn’t yet taken the time to get clear on.

But I’m clearer on that now. I’ve learned that the approach is pretty casual. In just the three cookbooks I referred to on Southwestern cooking, there were several variations. The point seems to be simply to get the rawness out of the tomatillos. And a few ways to do that are by:

…placing the tomatillos, whole, and still in their papery husks, onto a dry skillet over medium heat, turning them as they get some charred and softened spots (the approach I used last week). I’m sure no rules would be broken if you removed the husks first, and then pan-roasted.

…peeling away the husks, rinsing the tomatillos to remove some of the stickiness, and then placing them whole or chopped into boiling water to parboil for one to three minutes.

…tossing the tomatillos, husks and all, into boiling water to parboil, and removing the husks after draining.

Because I was doing a green sauce, I decided to parboil this time, to not have the browner, charred parts from pan-roasting, just to keep a greener sauce.

Into a pot of boiling water, I added some salt; then one and a half pounds of tomatillos, which I had husked, rinsed, and cored (don’t know if the coring was necessary, since it softens in the water anyway, but I was following the guidelines from a recipe, so, yes, that is another variation!); and four jalapenos, from which I’d removed the stems, but otherwise tossed in whole (the recipe had suggested five. I felt more comfortable at the heat level of four, since seeds were going in, too. Of course, this is personal preference time.).

I brought the water back to a boil, let them cook for a couple of minutes, and then drained them.

I dried out that pot, and then heated enough oil to coat the bottom. To that I added one chopped white onion and seven chopped garlic cloves. As I roughly chopped the jalapenos and tomatillos, I added those to the pan, and let everything cook together for about five minutes.

Then I took out my stick blender and carefully puréed it all. (Instead of using a stick blender, this could, of course, be puréed in a blender.) I liked the consistency after puréeing, and could’ve stopped there, as in one of the recipes I’d referred to. But I decided to add vegetable stock, as a couple other versions suggested. I added just over two cups of broth, and let that simmer for a good 20 minutes, so it cooked down some and thickened.

I added salt and pepper, and about a quarter-cup of chopped cilantro.

This sauce has a beautiful play of greens, and good, even heat.

For dinner that night, we drizzled it over fried eggs and sliced avocados, with corn tortillas on the side. The eggs and avocados were a good balance to the heat of the salsa verde.

The next day I drizzled it over a broccoli risotto I made. That was nice, too!

Still have a nice amount of salsa verde left, so I’m thinking enchiladas tonight.


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