Salsa Verde

Green salsaIf you are going to be serving Mexican Food for your guests, you will want to offer Salsa Verde (green Salsa) as well as a Salsa Rojo, (red Salsa). It is made with tomatillos instead of red tomatoes. There are many different salsas made with the tomatillo as well as other sauces used when cooking genuine Mexican Cuisine. They have an exquisite and distinctive flavor, that can range from semi-sweet to so acidy that your salsa will require a touch of sugar.

The tomatillo is a relative of the tomato and member of the nightshade family. iStock_000015431278XSmallThey provide that tart flavor in many of Mexican green sauces. The tomatillo has a paper thin hunk that you remove before using them. Like the tomato, they can be used both raw and cooked, so there is great variety in salsa verde and can taste complete different from one house to the next.

The tomatillo can be several colors when ripe, including yellow, green, or even purple. In fact I have planted seeds and had some fruits be pale green, almost yellow, some nice and green and some purple all from the same group of seeds. Plus, I will warn you, if you leave any to die in the field, you will have a surprise the following year. They will spread out and you will need to thin the new crop or you will be overran with them. If you are going to grow your own,  two or more plants are needed for proper pollination.

quezalc1 mexican gods 2The Aztecs domesticated the tomatillo as well as corn and their diet included avocados, tomatoes and squash. They had a passion for chocolate. Their main food was the tlaxcalli, which was a corn-meal pancake similar to the modern day tortilla to which they added meat from the hunt and no doubt a salsa made with tomatoes or tomatillos.

If you have found a place to purchase the tomatillos, lets make a simple Salsa Verde, and taste test the results.

To prepare the tomatillos, strip off the paper thin husks and rinse the fruit in cold water. Next you have a choice of which way you wish to go. You can put them into a sauce pan, cover with water and simmer over low heat until they are soft and tender. You will need to turn them over during the cooking time as they tend to float so the top will not get cooked if you overlook this step. Or you can grill them to blacken them, which will give them a more intense flavor. (My wife cooks them in water, I blacken them on the grill, it is the choice of the cook)


Salsa Verde
Recipe type: Salsa
Cuisine: Mexican
  • 6 medium tomatillos
  • 1 medium serrano chili
  • 3 cloves unpeeled garlic
  • juice of ½ lime
  • ½ medium white onion minced
  • 10 sprigs of cilantro minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Fire up your grill and grill the tomatillos, Serrano chili and garlic, turning often until they all have charred spots on all sides. Remove the pieces to a plate as they are ready. Some will be ready much sooner than the others.
  2. When they are all finished , remove the outer skin of the garlic, place everything into your food blender. Give it a quick spin in the blender but only for a second or two, you want it all chopped but you don't want soup

Chefs Tip: If you choose to cook the tomatillos don’t let them boil or they will split open and lose their seeds and pulp into the water. And son’t let the size of the serrano fool you, they are hot little devils, so one is usually enough.

For more exciting recipes check out Chef William’s Mexican cookbook at Mexican Fiesta Recipes



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13 Responses to Salsa Verde

  1. Amy

    Yum, yum, yum, Chef! I have planted some purple tomatillo seedlings, and I’m hoping to have enough to make something special with them. I’ve never grown them before, at least not successfully. My family absolutely loves salsa and I credit the fact that my kiddos are so healthy through the wintertime (generally!) with the fact that they gorge on my canned salsa and tortilla chips for snacks. It’s loaded with homegrown garlic, peppers, tomatoes and onions. And cilantro, when I have it. This recipe looks yummy, and easy. I can’t wait to try it!!
    Amy recently posted..Cornish cuties in the basementMy Profile

    • Chef William says:

      tomatillos really don’t require much except watering, but if you are not successful,
      using seeds, start by purchasing a couple of plants, you need at least two. Once you
      are successful, any left over at the end of the season can be raked into the ground.
      The snow does not effect the seeds and the plants will pop up in early spring.
      Chef William recently posted..Salsa VerdeMy Profile

  2. Carrie

    Sounds like another great recipe idea!
    Carrie recently posted..Beef FajitasMy Profile

  3. Cooked with tomatillos for the first time last night. Love the distinct flavor. Makes regular old red tomatoes pale by comparison.
    Carolina HeartStrings recently posted..TEA FOR TWO IN SUMMERVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINAMy Profile

  4. I’m off to my stores to see if they have tomatillos hidden where I never look…
    Roy A. Ackerman, PhD, EA recently posted..The Facts Don’t Matter!My Profile

  5. Carol Tomany

    I have always wanted to try this salsa. Now I know what a tomatillo looks like :) Thank you
    Carol Tomany recently posted..MarigoldsMy Profile

    • Chef William says:

      If you raise your own, tomatillo’s are easy to grown and any excess you have at the end of the
      season, can be blanched and frozen, to be used in the winter months.
      Chef William recently posted..Salsa VerdeMy Profile

  6. I adore salsa verde, I am going to try this out asap, i’ll need to look carefully for tomatillos :) Mmmmm mmm mmmm
    Anita-Clare Field recently posted..Kingklip CurryMy Profile

    • Chef William says:

      If you can get some seeds, they grow the same as a tomato, just harvest before the
      first frost. Blanch any extra and freeze them, for making salsa in the middle of
      Chef William recently posted..Salsa VerdeMy Profile

  7. Pingback: Acorn Squash QuesadillasA Healthy Lifestyle For Mind Body and Spirit

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