If you love salsa verde like I do, you will wonder why you’ve never made it at home! I’ve long been intrigued by tomatillos and this was my first time “cooking” with them, but I guarantee it won’t be the last. I could not believe how easy this was, and unlike some wimpy salsa verdes I’ve consumed, the serrano chile adds a hint of heat that tingles the tongue versus a lingering burn. If you like it hot, simply add another chile.
Tomatillos are readily available in markets in Southern California, but in case you’re not familiar with them, the tomatillo is a plant of the nightshade family, related to the cape gooseberry, bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos originated in Mexico, and are a staple of Mexican cuisine. The tomatillo fruit is surrounded by an inedible, paper-like husk and as the fruit matures, it fills the husk and can split it open by harvest. The fruit can be several colors when ripe, including yellow, red, green, or even purple. Tomatillos main culinary contribution is their bright green color and tart flavor. They are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked Mexican and Central-American green sauce. Select tomatillos that are firm and bright green, with a fresh, green husk.
What prompted this exploration, was a craving for Pork Chile Verde Enchiladas which came to mind as I was contemplating what to do with leftover pulled pork from the 4th of July. In the past, I used canned chile verde enchilada sauce (my bad), but there’s simply too much sodium in canned sauces for that shortcut to work for me anymore. Serendipity played a part as I leafed through Bon Appétit’s July issue and came upon this super simple recipe that required no cooking. I love that part.
Forgive the mediocre photo, but know that smoky pulled pork makes excellent enchiladas and this sauce is the crowning touch. This vibrantly colored Tomatillo Salsa Verde is also fantastic on its own with chips and can brighten anything from eggs and omelets to grilled meats and fish and, of course, is superb on quesadillas, tacos, tostadas, any Mexican dish.
- 1 pound tomatillos
- 1/2 medium onion coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic clove smashed
- 1 red serrano chile seeds removed, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
Remove the husk, rinse and quarter the tomatillos.
Puree all the ingredients in a blender or VitaMix.
Season with salt, if desired. That's it!
Recipe from Bon Appetit, July 2014. I substituted red serrano chile for green for color contrast and did not add salt or any additional water.
Tomatillo photo credit: 1526house