charred salsa verde is a flavorful topping for almost anything!
How often do you burn something on purpose? I’m talking char! Real pyromania-type scorching! I don’t normally condone it, but for this salsa, it’s absolutely essential. And once you try it, you’ll kiss your jarred salsa goodbye! This one has it all! Poblano and jalapeño peppers, fragrant lime and cilantro and tomatillos. I love saying that word – Toe-ma-tee-yo!
This is a riff on a Rick Bayless recipe from his cookbook Mexican Everyday. I can’t say enough about it. Both the salsa and the cookbook (and next time we’re in Chicago, I’m making reservations at Topolobampo or Frontera Grill or both).
This recipe starts by cooking the tomatillos on the stovetop. Lay a sheet of tin foil on a baking pan or skillet, if you don’t, you’re going to be on a whole new level of intimacy with your pan scrubber. Cook them cut side down until they start to blacken, then flip them with a pair of tongs and continue to cook until they soften up. — the tomatillos will take on some color, but the majority will still be imperviously stuck to the tin foil — instead of your pan, (your welcome).
Next, there’s the poblano and jalapeño peppers. I lay them directly on my gas cooktop (no pan or protective layer) and watch the orange-blue flame dance over the skin, blister and pop! There’s something savagely satisfying about this. It takes a little time to thoroughly blacken the skin, but come on — it’s so caveman-esque.
Then you just pop all the ingredients into the mini food processor and give it a few pulses. Simple.
Add some finely diced white onion (not yellow), some salt to taste and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. This is so much better than any jarred salsa verde.
The only question is what to serve it with. Certainly tortilla chips, or tacos, burritos and the like. But how about with a piece of grilled fish? Pork chops? Chicken? Skirt steak? Slow-cooked pork shoulder? Over eggs with some queso fresco and fresh cilantro? You may need to make a double batch. Just saying.
Charred Salsa Verde
Char the peppers over a hot grill or even a gas cooktop to lend that smoky flavor to this delicious salsa verde.
- 1 pound tomatillos
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/4 cup white onion finely diced
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- Peel and rinse the tomatillos. Cut them in half crosswise. Place a piece of tin foil on a baking sheet or inside a large skillet. Place the tomatillos cut side down on the foil. Set the pan over a medium high heat on the stove. Cook the tomatillos over medium heat until they soften and begin to take on a nice char - turning once or twice during the process, 7-8 minutes. Set aside.
- If you have a gas cooktop or grill, turn the flame onto medium high heat and rest the jalapeño and poblano peppers over the flame until it blisters and blackens, using your tongs to turn and rotate several times until the entire pepper is blackened. (I rest the peppers directly on the iron grate over the flame, so the flames lap at the skin.)
- If you don't have a gas stovetop or grill, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place peppers on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes until softened and slightly blackened.
- After peppers are cooked place them in a glass bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool. When peppers are cool enough to handle, slough off the charred skin with your fingers and discard (it should come away easily).
- Cut off the stem of the peppers. With a knife, cut the peppers in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds and discard. Cut the peppers into large chunks and place into a small mini-prep food processor. Add the tomatillos, garlic and cilantro.
- Using the chop or pulse button on the mini-prep, process the mixture until it's the consistency of a chunky salsa.
- Stir in the white onion.
- Season to taste with kosher salt and lime juice.
- Serve with tortilla chips, burritos, tacos, grilled steaks, chicken, pork or fish.