… Relish in the Flavors of Cinco de Mayo Green Sauce!
Salsa Verde is a classic condiment used in Mexican food. It also happens to be one of Mr. DF’s favorite salsas. He never needs to wait for Cinco de Mayo to celebrate his love for Mexican food or for this salsa. Here in the Midwest we don’t find it offered on Mexican restaurant menus very often. It can be found, but it certainly isn’t the common salsa served. That’s why when he travels for business, or we visit family and friends in California or Colorado, there is always a trip to a salsa-verde-serving eatery included in our dining choices.
He says what draws him particularly to salsa verde, more than almost any other hot sauce, is the uniquely characteristic tang of the tomatillos. They offer rich sourness with a sweet undertone that makes the finished salsa verde complex and intriguing.
I love how they come in their own packaging of this paper-like husk. The husk is inedible, but is so easy to peel off if you choose fruits with husks that are just beginning to pop open. The skin is sticky, but rinses to a smooth finish.
He especially likes the taste of the tomatillos once they’ve been roasted and charred on their skin (though roasting is not required if you wish to make a raw salsa verde). Roasting also brings out the sweetness of the onions and garlic, while the jalapenos gain an earthiness, in only the best way.
I love how when I plop all of these ingredients into the food processor and they’re blended together, there’s heat, sour, sweet, all happening in layers. It’s like I’ve done something magical. Love that!
Then with the addition of fresh cilantro and lime juice, your mouth goes on a roller coaster ride … when the salsa hits the different taste zones on the tongue. You know that feeling you get when you ride a roller coaster, and your stomach feels excitement, then calm, then anticipation (or anxiousness in my case) of the next flash of thrill and excitement all over again? It’s like that … in your mouth. Good, right? Really, really good!
Mr. DF has made salsa verde a couple of times, but I’ve never ventured into this delicious space … and I don’t really know why because I like a good salsa verde (as opposed to a watered-down version). When I decided to embark on writing a salsa verde recipe for you, I requested a bit of know-how from my better half’s experience. What a revolutionary experience that was. No, not the part of asking for help, I do that all the time. The eye-opening part was how easy this is to make. When we chatted about the ingredients and the recipe steps, I quickly proclaimed, “That’s all there is to it? Why haven’t I made this before?” To which I simply earned a crooked, slightly amused grin from my guy.
Yes, you guys, it is so easy. A tossing of veggies with olive oil, a roasting of the gems under a very hot broiler for a few minutes while the scent of charring veggie skins wafts through the house, and a whirring of the food processor – and you’ve made your very own chunky green liquid loveliness. I urge you to not wait as long as I did to create the traditional flavors of Roasted Green Tomatillo Salsa Verde. I can assure you that this will be a staple condiment in my kitchen from now on. I know Mr. DF will be happy when he hears this news.
Happy Roasting … and Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Gluten-free Dairy-free Roasted Green Tomatillo Salsa Verde
Prep time: 5 minutes
Roasting time: 10-15 minutes
Oven temp: Broil (450ºF if you have a broil temp setting)
Cool time: 20 minutes to room temp, longer if you like it chilled
Makes: 2 to 2 ½ cups
1 pound firm tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
1 large yellow onion, skinned and cut into 4 wedges
3 cloves garlic, keep skins on
2 jalapeno peppers*
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or enough to coat veggies liberally)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
juice of half a lime
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Line roasting pan with foil.
Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapenos on prepared roasting pan. Drizzle oil over veggies and spread oil on all sides of veggies to coat well.
Roast veggies in preheated oven, upper rack, for about 5 minutes. Check for charring. Turn veggies over and continue roasting another 5 minutes or so. Continue cooking tomatillos and peppers have a nice char to the skins and garlic and onions are becoming tender. Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 5 minutes.
Pull the stems off of the jalapenos (see note below for spiciness/heat adjustments). Lift two sides of the foil with the veggies still on it, creating a funnel effect, and pour all of the veggies and the excess oil and juices into a food processor.
Pulse veggies 10-12 short times to the desired consistency you prefer. Add cilantro and lime juice and pulse quickly once or twice to chop the cilantro and incorporate into the salsa. Taste. Season with salt as needed.
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
– as a dip for your favorite gluten-free tortilla chips
– ladled over Sweet Mexican Corn Cakes
– as a hot sauce over tacos
– to kick up and add flavor depth to enchiladas
– to brighten Huevos Rancheros
*NOTE: Jalapeños can be seeded and the white interior veins removed to create a milder salsa. Roast whole, then do this step if desired. For a hotter version of salsa verde, swap 1 jalapeno for a Serrano pepper. These will kick up the heat quotient quite a bit.
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