Tomatillo Salsa | Me

I’ve been working on this one for a few years and I think I got pretty close to perfection yesterday afternoon with the latest batch. I’m only using homegrown tomatillos which makes for for a limited number of chances to evolve the recipe.

I like a nice, fresh-tasting salsa, but I also learned recently from a few sources that heat really brings out the flavor of tomatillos. So I compromise by lightly sautéing them in a little canola oil. I’ve found that this has the added benefit that the oil and lime juice will partially emusify leaving you with a less watery salsa. At least I assume that’s what’s happening. Maybe there’s something in the tomatillos themselves that acts as an emulsifier as well? Anyway.

  • 2 T canola oil
  • 3 pints tomatillos
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2-3 limes)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2-3 Habanero peppers, cored, seeded and minced
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

Core the tomatillos and cut them in half widthwise. Heat 1 T of canola oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Place as many of the tomatillo halves as will fit in the pan cut side down (you’ll probably need to work in batches). Let them cook without moving or shaking the pan around for about 4-5 minutes, or until they start to form a little fond. Remove from the pan and set aside and do the next batch, adding another T of oil if necessary. When finished with any/all batches you could can optionally take the pan off the heat and deglaze with a one or two tablespoons of the lime juice. My fond had gotten a bit too dark by that point so I skipped it, possibly wasting a good bit of carmelized tomatillo goodness, but oh well.

OK, so now all that’s left is to throw everything in the food processor and pulse several times to the desired level of chunkiness. Add more salt to taste or another minced habanero for extra heat.

Note: special thanks to neighbor Zach for his supervision and for helping me press the Pulse button on the cuisinart.

Written on August 27, 2007