Green tomatillo salsa with cilantro and onion is one of my favorite salsas to make because it is so versatile. If you make it thick, it can be used between layers of stacked enchiladas or in chicken or pork tamales. If you make it thin, it becomes a table salsa that is perfect for dipping or spooning over an entree such as Mom’s Huevos Revueltos con Nopales to add a touch of spice. I even make it Puerto Rican fusion style, adding green peppers and culantro (found as ngo gai in Vietnamese markets) to give it a unique flavor.
This recipe is for the table salsa. Roasting the tomatillos in the oven or on top of the comal to give them a complex, smoky flavor. After 10 minutes under the broiler (or until blackened on the comal), all it takes is a few spins in the food processor to mix the remaining ingredients and you have a remarkable salsa.
Note: A comal is a heavy flat pan used for heating items on top of the stove. It is heavy, so you don’t move the comal when cooking. Instead, you flip whatever is heating over on top of its surface. Comals are traditionally round, but now you can also find them in oblong shapes to fit over two burners.
8 tomatillos, husked and washed
1/2 sweet white onion, cut into slices
1 jalapeno or 2 serrano chiles (or to taste)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
juice from 1/2 lime
1 pinch sea salt (optional)
1. Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or baking paper.
2. Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse in water.
3. Place the tomatillos on the baking sheet and broil for approximately 5 minutes, then turn over and repeat. It’s fine if some blackened spots appear on the surface of the tomatillo, but watch to make sure they don’t get too done.
4. Place the tomatillo, onion, cilantro and chile in a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are chopped into small pieces but not liquefied. Add the lime juice any any tomatillo juice from the bottom of the baking sheet and stir.
5. Pour the salsa into a serving dish or container. Add a pinch of sea salt (if desired) and stir.
6. Let it cool and enjoy!
Note: You can add 1/2 of the jalapeno or cilantro if you like a milder salsa, and add a bit more if you want it fiery. You could also add a small clove of garlic to add even more complexity to the flavor.
In another recipe, I will explain how to thicken up this salsa for even more imaginative uses.