When indulging in Mexican food, the most difficult decision for me ends up being the decision of choosing salsa verde or salsa roja – red sauce or green sauce. Whether you’re just having simple tortilla chips for an appetizer or making a dinner of enchiladas, this version of salsa verde will convince you that green is the way to go. Many recipes for salsa verde exist out there, but to add a little more complexity to this simple Mexican sauce I like to incorporate some freshly roasted poblano pepper and Mexican oregano to add more complexity.
For years I tried making salsa verde and two important notes really transformed my recipe. Both the absence of garlic and the presence of some sugar … just a little. Almost by default I would put garlic in almost everything, but some recipes really don’t need it. I believe it ruins the flavor of tomatillos. And this teaspoon amount of sugar simply cuts down on the extreme tartness without making the salsa taste sweet.
- 6 medium tomatillos
- 1 large white onion
- 2 jalapeño peppers (1 whole, 1 diced)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano, crushed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp sugar
- juice of half a lime
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- Peel and quarter tomatillos and white onion, discard the stemmed top of one whole jalapeño pepper (keeping the seeds and inner ribs intact). In a medium bowl, thoroughly coat ingredients with olive oil and season with kosher salt.
- Spread tomatillos, onion and jalapeño pepper evenly in one layer on a shallow baking sheet (preferably lined with aluminum foil for easier clean-up). Roast under broiler until cooked through and skins turn brown and slightly blistered, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, roast poblano pepper over a direct flame on the stovetop until skins are black and charred. Let cool slightly. Cut off both ends of the charred pepper and slice one vertical incision to open the pepper so it lays flat on the counter. Discard the core, seeds, inner ribs, and gently rub off the blackened skins. Slice flesh of poblano into large pieces and set aside.
- In a food processor, combine roasted tomatillo mixture, poblano pepper, cilantro, Mexican oregano, water, sugar and lime juice. Process until desired texture is achieved.
- At this point the basic sauce is done and you can add diced jalapeño pepper, more salt or sugar to your liking. Adding a the fresh jalapeño adds intensity, usually half of a pepper is good enough. Add more lime for more of a tangy edge.
Yield: 4 cups