Salsa Verde or Tomatillo Salsa or Green Salsa

I couldn’t make up my mind what to call this post.  Do I use the Spanish?  Will that alienate people?  Offend people?  Confuse them?  Make them try to say it out loud with awful accents?  Oh, well, ni modo.

Green Salsa, Salsa Verde for the true Mexican food aficionados or Spanish speakers, is a tangy salsa based on tomatillos which are small green tomatoes wrapped up like a present in a husk.  These are not under ripe tomatoes, but rather a firm tomato that must be cooked to eat, or if kept raw, liquified into salsa.

Printable: Salsa Verde

Here’s the short version.  Pile all tomatillos, onion, cilantro, garlic, salt and jalapeno into the food processor (tomatillos on the bottom) and pulse 15-30 times to the beat of a great song, like “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” until it looks like this.

Here’s the longer version.

Remove the husks by taking the stem end of the tomatillo and pushing the fruit out.  Like so.

After a whole pound of these, actually after like 2, your fingers will get sticky which is fine, just don’t go around touching everything in your kitchen.

Wash them (and your hands, please) thoroughly and rub with your fingers to remove any excess film from the husks.

Good tomatillos come in a variety of sizes, so use your best judgement for how to cut them.  We want the pieces to be approximately the same size.  Halve the small ones and quarter the larger ones.

Place the tomatillos at the bottom of a food processor.  A food processor is ideal because it will still leave the salsa having small bits and pieces, giving it a thick consistency.

If you don’t have a food processor, a blender will work too.  No blender?  Really?  OK, break out the mortar and pestle.  Don’t have that either?  You poor soul.  Don’t worry I won’t leave you out from the fun.  Go outside and find 2 rocks- one like a bowl and the other like a pestle.  Make sure to wash them really well.

Roughly chop up 1/2 an onion.  Yellow, red, white, doesn’t matter, we’re equal opportunity here.  Whatever you have on hand.

Rough chop a good handful of cilantro, about 1/2 cup.  Don’t be afraid of the stems, that’s where the goodness is.  Just cut off the stem tips.

Or, you can waste your time just breaking off the leaves, if that’s your preference.  This is a free country/recipe.

Now make sure to dice up 2 key ingredients very small: the jalapenos (with gloves if you can, otherwise don’t rub or touch your eyes for awhile)

and the garlic (with a press)

Don’t forget 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Now, pulse everything together to a good song, like “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”  Make sure to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.

Here’s the Salsa Verde at about 15 pulses, when I scraped the sides down.

Another 15 pulses (“Upside, inside out, she’s livin’ la vida loca…”)

And we’re done!  Easy, huh?  Just don’t cut yourself while cleaning the food processor blade.

If you’re going to make Chilaquiles Verdes, resist all the temptation to gobble up the Salsa Verde with tortilla chips.  I know it’s hard, but sometimes, we have higher purposes for things.


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