So tomatillos are not something I grew up with. We didn’t grow them, Mom never cooked with them and honestly I don’t even know if they knew what they were. It just wasn’t a vegetable that was part of our intake. I honestly didn’t “discover” these things until I was living on my own in my first house. It had to honestly be one of the first ‘adult’ grocery store runs I went on where not only did I make the list of what I needed, I cut the coupons and most importantly I had to pay for it. *gasp!* Being an adult is scary – I mean responsibilities! LOL
I can still remember my pushing my buggy through the produce aisles and there sat these funky little green things with these weird ‘shells’ on them. At first I thought they were nuts or some kind of pod. When I asked the kid working there what a “Tow-mah-teel-low” was he said “Dunno, some type of green tomato”. Thanks kid.. really helpful. NOT! Now growing up green tomatoes equaled not ripe. So needless to say I didn’t get any.
Stupid… had I known then what I know now I would have certainly bought them! These things are AWESOME!
A few years went by and I was at some Mexican restaurant with some friends. The waiter asked what kind of salsa we wanted. Being someone food ignorant I assumed he meant “hot, medium or mild”. He chuckled and then expanded on the various types they had – roasted, pineapple, chipotle and then salsa verde. When I said that I wanted the ‘kid-friendly’ version cause I was a wuss then so he gave me the mild and this bowl of green stuff.
My friends busted out laughing when he set it down in front me of me as the look I gave him was pretty priceless apparently. I mean here in front of me sat this bowl of green… stuff! I looked at him and said “Um, I think it’s spoiled! It’s all green!” Yeah, I was such a great chef then huh? LOL
They all got a good laugh at me and he explained it was salsa verde made with tomatillos. Whoa, wha? I remember those things! They were those pod shaped un-ripe green tomatoes. Yeah my face went even more squinched up to which he literally said “Oh quit making that face and try it. If you don’t like it I’ll buy you dinner and a movie this Friday night!”
Wait… what? Did he just ask me out?! Yeah you see I am one that is seriously uber naive when it comes to being hit on. Even to this day if I get hit on at the gym, bar or even the grocery store I naturally assume people are being friendly. It’s just my personality so I assume others are like me. This drives Mr. Fantabulous nuts. There are times when I’ve been out with my bff and we’ll be at a bar just sitting there chatting when some guy next to me or her will start to talk with us. Me, being me, will pretty much chat with anyone. It’s not until I look at her and see her giving me the “OMG LOR stop it! He’s hitting on you, you idiot” eyes do I “get it”. LOL
So back to him “I think” asking me out. I gave him a puzzled Lori look where I kinda purse my lips and raise my right eyebrow (and yes I’m actually doing it now to be sure I captured it correctly… lol). I said “Okay I’ll try it” and assumed he was going to then walk away and wait on other tables. Nope! He stood there, arms crossed, grinning and waiting. Seriously! I was getting the stare-down from a pretty cute might I add waiter. So I took a chip and literally dipped the very tip edge of a chip into this green stuff. I mean there was no way I was going fist deep into a bowl of that! Do you know hey actually said “No, not acceptable. Dip it in at least half way, scoop up some stuff and eat it Lori.” By now he knew my name.
Man aggressive he was, huh? LOL So fine, I dipped it in, scooped up some stuff and put in my mouth (while reaching for my margarita just in case). I chew up the chip/salsa but I didn’t say anything. Seriously these people were looking at me with baited breath like I was about to deliver secrets from God. Have to admit, the stuff was awesome… SERIOUSLY awesome! So good that I asked for the recipe which they actually gave me that night!
Now fast forward a million years to today (well okay, when I took these pics.. LOL). To make this recipe is seriously ridiculously easy. It’s actually pretty embarrassing how easy it is.
On a foil lined pan place all of your veggies, either halved or cubed/rough chopped. Now one thing you’ll need to know about tomatillos is you have to remove the husk first. AND be forewarned, they are sticky to the touch. So don’t remove the husk when you’re in the store, do it at home. The sticky stuff is actually a natural residue the fruit, yes it’s a fruit – not a veggie, produces to repel insects. Just remove the husks, give it a rinse under water and cut. The sticky residue won’t come off so don’t scrub it and don’t peel them.
Place everything on the pan and roast away until charred, the veggies (and fruit) have wilted and there is liquid on the pan. Now you don’t have to roast these however raw tomatillos are super acid and really sharp to the palate. I don’t recommend them at all. Remember these aren’t green tomatoes. In fact they aren’t tomatoes at all.
Nope – while they are of the nightshade family like eggplant and tomatoes they come from a completely different type of plant.
Once roasted pop the items from the pan into your blender or food processor. FYI I am In LOVE with me Ninja BL642Z Nutri Blender Duo with Auto-iQ! Seriously this thing is a BEAST in the kitchen! I highly recommend it! Once you add the roasted stuff into the blender, add in your seasoning, lime juice, zest and cilantro. Now for me I absolutely LOVE cilantro; some folks don’t. Being honest here there really isn’t a substitute for cilantro. You could try parsley but I’m not sure of the outcome. For this dish to truly blend well and have that light and bright flavor on the back end where you do get the heat, you really need the cilantro.
Now remember that anytime you add something hot to a blender or food processor you need to vent it otherwise the heat will build up and it could explode. Safety first!
A few seconds in the Ninja BL642Z Nutri Blender Duo with Auto-iQ and I was at the perfect consistency – for me. Remember on somethings I’m still a 7 year old and hate chunks of ‘stuff’. So my salsa is thicker but barely any recognizable chunks. You can most certainly leave it chunkier if you choose.
Now you can eat this salsa right away BUT I recommend, not I strongly urge, you to put it in the fridge for at least 4 hours so the flavors can marry. You need those ingredients to blend together and become harmonious. It’s actually better the next day.
So let me tell you about the first time I made this recipe for you guys – I *thought* I had it memorized. So I make it and yeah, first bite.. my ears weren’t on fire but I swear they actually were on fire! Did you ever eat something so hot (not like temperature hot but spicy hot) that your inner ear canals felt like someone just stuck a hot poker in there and burnt them to a crisp? Yeah, that’s what this salsa did to me. So I sat there, chugging milk and pretty much everything else I could swallow to stop the hell fire in my mouth and ears, trying to figure out why in the world it was so hot.
Apparently I doubled the number of jalapenos and didn’t put in any sugar. I pretty much burnt every fat cell between my mouth and ear canals. So I can say I have a skinny part on my body. If only that worked on the rest of my body I’d take a bath in this stuff! LOL
So after I fixed that batch I needed to test out the recipe, as written, again to ensure that I made it correct. Hesitant to put another taste in my mouth I did however my taste buds were so burnt that nothing was getting through. Thus into the fridge both batches went (labeled). Oh no, I wasn’t making that mistake again! LOL
The next day I took a spoon to the 2nd batch and it was PERFECT! To fix the first batch I pretty much made another recipe only no peppers and added sugar. WINNER WINNER! One thing I love about this salsa is that it’s not just for chips. I had made some cajun shrimp and a lettuce slaw for Ash Wednesday. Now for the slaw I only added salt, pepper and lime to it. The shrimp was sauteed in butter and cajun spices. I also mashed up an avocado with cilantro/salt/pepper (MY FAVORITE!). However it needed ‘something’ as a sauce.
Okay folks seriously… this salsa on seafood is AMAZING!!! I mean AMAZING! It’s also awesome with pork carnitas and even Mexican spiced beef and chicken! This will surely become one of your favorites!
Oh and with regards to that waiter. Since I loved the salsa he walked away pretty bummed. Remember if I didn’t like it he was taking me out that Friday night to dinner and a movie. When we left I left him a little ‘note’ with my signed receipt… my number. Yes, this was before Mr. Fantabulous in case you’re wondering. LOL Anyway he called the next day and we did end up going out that Friday night – not to a movie though. I don’t do movies on first dates. No way man, I don’t want to be in the dark with some stranger. LOL Anyway we went out that Friday night… and several times after that. *wink*Print
- 2 lbs tomatillos, husked and cut in half
- 2 medium Anaheim or Poblano chili peppers (~8-10 ounces in weight), cut in half and seeded (keep the seeds if you want the heat) – The poblano is a tad milder.
- 1 large yellow Vidalia onion, cut in large chunks
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 small jalapeno, cut in half and seeded (keep the seeds if you want the heat)
- 1 lime, juice ~1/8 cup juice
- Zest of one lime
- 1/8–1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup rough chopped cilantro
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- Preheat oven to 500F, rack in the middle.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- To the pan add the tomatillos, peppers, onions and garlic.
- Roast for 18-20 minutes or until the skins are charred and the peppers have turned soft.
- Using tongs, place all the veggies into a food processor or blender. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Ninja BL642Z Nutri Blender Duo with Auto-iQ *Note you can include the juices, I normally don’t as I don’t like my salsa runny.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients.
- Place the lid on (be sure to vent it so it doesn’t explode) and process until desired consistency.
- Taste for flavor but keep in mind the salsa needs to sit in the refrigerator at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to bloom and marry.
- Transfer to a container, cover and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before eating.
I HIGHLY recommend the Ninja BL642Z Nutri Blender Duo with Auto-iQ!!! I absolutely love it!
This recipe is based on the one I got a bajillion years ago from the waiter with my changes. There are 10 million (okay maybe not that many) others out there similar to this one. I can’t take credit for coming up with this one on my own and I’d most certainly state the restaurant I got it from but honesty I can’t remember at all. It wasn’t one of the chain places. It was some middle of no where place local establishment.