Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

I have the opportunity to try out a local CSA for a couple of weeks, and my friend Maria showed me the ropes this weekend.  In addition to the designated vegetables for pick up, there are also vegetables growing in the field for picking.  I decided to pick a few tomatillos, since I have never cooked with them before.  We overheard that when the husk has split from the expanding fruit they are ready to be harvested, so that is what we looked for.  I decided to make a quick salsa verde with the tomatillos, and found it delightfully refreshing—spicy-hot and juicy and flavorful.

The pound of tomatillos made almost 3 cups of salsa, which I put to good use in a number of ways.  Of course we dipped tortilla chips in the salsa, and that was very good.  But even better was to use it as a sauce for simple baked trout fillets.  We had salsa left over, so the next day I mashed up a ripe avocado and combined it with some of the salsa to make a delicious tomatillo-avocado guacamole, which I think Amanda would like.  We also had the tomatillo salsa with turkey burgers.  So many good things for so little cooking effort!  The salsa tasted best right after it was made, but can keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.  Since it is so fast to make, I can see making this salsa frequently during tomatillo season with just a few tomatillos at a time.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, adapted from Gourmet, November 1999

1 pound fresh tomatillos
3 fresh Serrano chili peppers
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
½  large white onion, cut in chunks
½ cup fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon lime juice

Preheat the broiler. Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse them with warm water.  Place the tomatillos, chili peppers, garlic and onion pieces on the rack of a broiler pan.  Pierce the peppers with a knife so they don’t burst in the oven (as one of mine did).  Broil the vegetables 1-2 inches from the heat, turning once, until the tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 8 minutes.

Peel the garlic and cut the tops off the hot peppers.  I removed the seeds from 2 of the peppers and still found the final salsa quite hot.  You may want to put fewer hot peppers in your salsa if you don’t like it too spicy.

Put the roasted tomatillos, onions, peeled garlic and chili peppers to a blender with fresh cilantro, salt and lime juice.  Puree.  Pour the salsa into a bowl and serve with tortilla chips or use as a sauce for fish.

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