We love salsa in our family. Whenever we go to a Mexican food restaurant, I think they lose money on us because of all the salsa we consume while there. Each of us has our favorite kind. My husband loves the chunky salsa, my daughter, pico de gallo, and I love anything with chipotle flavor. Recently, I ran across a recipe made with tomatillos that also had chipotle chilies in it so it peaked my interest. I had never used tomatillos before so it was a learning experience, and a delicious one.
Tomatillos are native to Mexico. They resemble a tomato, but are different and not interchangeable. When ripe they are purple, but are normally used when green in all kinds of salsas and Mexican sauces. They are covered with a thin, brown paper like material that is not edible. You can find them in the produce section of most grocery stores in Arizona. If they are not at your local grocery store, try a store that carries more gourmet ingredients or a Latin specialty market.
For this recipe, the tomatillos, garlic, and onions are all roasted under a broiler.
It is hard to believe when looking at the pan after roasting these ingredients that something good actually comes out of this. But roasting gives them an almost sweet, smoky flavor that combines wonderfully with the chipotle chilies. You can usually find canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce in the Mexican food isle of the supermarket.
Once you have the ingredients, making the sauce is simple. Roasting the ingredients just takes 10 minutes, and then everything is thrown together and blended. I hope you try this flavorful salsa. It is so worth making it at home. If I keep learning how to make different types of salsas, maybe we will eat Mexican food at home more, and the restaurants in our neighborhood can save some money. But probably not. After all, being able to get good Mexican food is one of the best reasons to live in Arizona.
TOMATILLO CHIPOTLE SALSA
10 medium tomatillos, husked, and rinsed
- 1 medium onion, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
- 4 or 5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 3 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
- 1 tsp. adobo sauce from canned chilies
- 1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. coarse ground pepper
- Position an oven rack 6 inches from broiler and preheat on broil.
- Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Arrange rinsed tomatillos, without brown papery husks, onion slices, and unpeeled garlic on prepared baking sheet.
- Broil for 10 minutes, turning everything once after 5 minutes, until soft and slightly charred. Let cool.
- Remove stem area from tomatillos, and any areas that are very black. It is better to do this over the blender or food processor so that any juice that spills won’t be wasted.
- Peel garlic, and transfer to blender or food processor.
- Place onion, and any juice from the foil on top of the garlic.
- Add the 3 chipotle chilies, and 1 tsp. adobo sauce.
- Place the coarsely chopped cilantro on top of the chilies.
- Lastly, add salt and pepper.
- Blend all together until smooth.
- Pour into a bowl, and serve with tortilla chips.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2011 and posted on Epicurious.