Getting great flavors from food doesn’t always require an 8 hour braise, sourcing ingredients from the highest mountain tops picked by the tiny fingers of a remote tribe or scouring the black market for mystical spices and seasonings. Sometimes all it takes is 20 minutes, a food processor and fresh ingredients. Really, sometimes it really is just.that.easy. This fresh and zippy tomatillo salsa is one tasty example of this. You won’t believe that an easy salsa recipe like this could taste this good.
Every year that I’ve been in California, I have either had a patio garden or an actual in-the-ground garden. I pride myself on my Midwestern garden growing skills that I learned from my parents. I get tomato plants that grow 6-8 feet tall, cucumber vines trailing through the yard and rosemary that is big enough to house every bird family in our neighborhood. This year…not so much.
What started out as a beautiful, albeit much smaller planting of some of my favorite summer fruits and vegetables now looks like the bastardized step child of the garden from Hell. Except for my tomatillo plants.
At four feet tall and loaded with flowers, I knew it was going to be a banner year for them and I started preparing all kinds of tomatillo recipes in my mind. Of course they all went out the window right after I made my first batch of tomatillo salsa. We’ve been eating tomatillo salsa, for the last couple of months, in and on pretty everything around here (good thing we like it). Up until recently, I had been making this roasted tomatillo salsa that I posted last year. But now I/we are absolutely hooked on this fresh salsa recipe.
You may have noticed that the tomatillos in the photo above aren’t just the usual green in the equally green paper husks. Tomatillos actually come in a variety of colors with green being the most common up to that deep purple/blue color of those above. My one bush put out only green and the other set on these gorgeous purple blue tomatillos. The purple fruits are a bit sweeter and less tangy than their green counterparts. As for the husks…well, that coloration is mostly due to my laziness in getting them picked. Eventually, the husks dry out and stick to the fruit, but they still peel off easily and the fruit is fine.
I decided to make the fresh salsa recipe, as opposed to the roasted version, because it’s been so damn hot around here that I just didn’t want to turn on my oven. That also means that this easy salsa recipe only takes a few minutes to whip together instead of the longer time to make the roasted tomatillo salsa. In fact, the step that takes the longest to do on this recipe is roasting the pasilla pepper (to get the skin off).
Tomatillos are pretty easy to find in most supermarkets these days, and with this easy salsa recipe at your fingertips, there are no more excuses to have to buy it when you can make it yourself. So break out your quart jars and start making this fresh salsa recipe ASAP!
As for the gratuitous use of tomatillo photos…I just couldn’t resist. I’ve never grown the purple one’s before and I thought they were pretty. Have you ever seen the purple tomatillo’s in your market?
Some people handle challenges better than others.
Recipe: Fresh Tomatillo Salsa
Summary: Makes Approximately 2 Quarts of Salsa
- 2 1/2 Pounds Tomatillos
- 1 Pasilla Pepper
- 1 Thai Bird Chili Pepper (or could use Serrano chili)
- 1 Large Sweet Onion (such as Maui or Vidalia)
- Handful of Fresh Cilantro
- 3 Small Avocados (2″ in diameter or the equivalent)
- Lime Juice
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Peel and wash the tomatillos. I use slightly warm water to help remove the sticky stuff coating the tomatillos.
- Drain and then chop the tomatillos into quarters.
- Roast the pasilla pepper over an open flame or pop under the broiler to remove the skin (directions for this are in the Notes section).
- Tear pepper into small pieces and drop into food processor
- Cut the top off the Thai bird chili and toss into processor.
- Peel and cut the onion into large chunks and toss into the processor.
- Toss in the cilantro.
- Pit and peel the avocados and scrape into the bowl of the processor.
- Add the chopped tomatillos the processor.
- Pop the lid onto the processor and pulse until everything is still somewhat chunky, but very broken down. You will probably have to scrape down the sides occasionally while doing this since the bowl will be quite full.
- Give the salsa a taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
- Continue processing until you get your desired consistency.
- Pour into sealable jars and chill.
To remove the skin from pasilla pepper: Hold the end of the pepper with tongs and hold over gas flame of cooktop burner. Rotate the pepper until the skin is black and blistered. Toss into a brown paper bag, close the top of the bag and let sit for 10 minutes. Open the bag and rub the skin off with your hands. Tear off the top and scrape out the seeds.
You can also cut the pepper in half, place on a baking sheet cut side down and slide under the broiler (set at 400 degrees Farenheit) until the skin is blackened and blistered. Drop into a brown paper bag and follow instructions as listed above.
This salsa can be used in the usual manner, but it’s also delicious in scrambled eggs or stirred into sour cream or plain yogurt and used as a veggie dip for parties.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Gluten free, Raw
Number of servings (yield): 1
Culinary tradition: Mexican