Fresh Salsa Verde gets its great flavor from charred green peppers, tomatillos, and onions. It’s a great weekend cooking project that results in a delicious sauce that serves not only as a fantastic dip for chips, but also as the base for such wonderful meals as Green Chile Pork and Huevos Rancheros Salsa Verde.
Salsas are one of my favorite things about late summer and early fall, when the Farmers’ Markets are teeming with fresh tomatoes, tomatillos, and chiles. This year, I grew poblano chiles and tomatillos in my garden for the sole purpose of making Salsa Verde. This summer has been very strange and unseasonably cool, so I am just hoping that my tomatillos hang in there and ripen before the first frost.
This delicious, easy-to-make fresh salsa verde involves charring chile peppers, tomatillos, and onions under the broiler, on the grill, or in a pan, which imparts a wonderful, smoky flavor. After that, it’s a simple matter of coring the tomatillos and seeding the peppers (unless you’re a chili-head like me, in which case you can leave them in!), and then zapping them in the food processor with salt, pepper, and a fistful of cilantro (or not, if you’re a genetic cilantro hater). And that’s it! SO EASY.
Fresh Salsa Verde: about the green chiles
For an authentic, New Mexican spin on the fresh salsa verde classic, it’s great if you can get your hands on Anaheim peppers from Hatch, New Mexico. The conditions and old-school chile-cultivating methods in this Southern New Mexico town produce hot, incredibly flavorful chiles, which become available around August. In New Mexico, you can’t miss their arrival: hand-cranked chile roasters pop up all over the state, filling the air with a wonderful, hot-roasty smell. I live in Wisconsin, but for about two weeks each year, one of my local grocery stores—RANDOMLY—carries Hatch green chiles. Every year, I happily stock up and spend the next weekend roasting, peeling, and bagging them. If I can’t get Hatch chiles, I use a mix of poblanos and jalapeños.
Why char everything first? You don’t have to, of course: you can make what’s called a “raw” salsa verde. But charring not only allows you to remove the tough skin of the peppers, but it also brings out a wonderful, smoky sweetness from the caramelization of the vegetables’ sugars. In short, charring adds a depth of flavor that you just can’t quite hit with the raw version. I have a grill pan that I use to char my veg. You can roast under a broiler, on a grill, or even directly over the flame of the stove (I don’t like this last one because—although it looks cool—it makes a ginormous mess).
Fresh Salsa Verde: not just for tortilla chips
Beneath the salsa verde recipe, you’ll see some of the great ways you can use this salsa verde besides simply dipping chips in it (don’t get me wrong: fresh salsa verde + tortilla chips = THE BOMB). I love fresh salsa verde huevos rancheros, for example. It’s also great in green chile stew. The recipe below makes a LOT of salsa, which is good news because the fresh salsa verde freezes just fine—pull it out any time for a quick condiment, spicy marinade, or party dip.
I am linking my Fresh Salsa Verde recipe up with:
- #CookBlogShare, a weekly food blogger link party where you can find all sorts of great recipes;
- #CookOnceEatTwice, a monthly food blogger link party specializing in recipes that make enough for a few meals;
- #BrillBlogPosts, a weekly blogger link party with a variety of great reads.
- 10 Hatch chile peppers or 6 poblano peppers
- 5 jalapeno peppers
- 2.5 lbs. tomatillos, husked and rinsed to remove
- the stickiness under the “wrapper”
- 3 medium onions, peeled and cut into thick rings
- 1.5 cups cilantro loosely packed, or to taste
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt, or to taste
- 2 tsp. cumin optional
Char vegetables on all sides until dark brown splotches appear. Place the chiles in a plastic bag and allow them to sweat for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, core the tomatillos. Remove chiles from plastic bag and peel off the skins. Remove the stems, seeds, and membranes as appropriate for your desired heat level: remember that if you’re heat-sensitive, the membranes adjacent to the seeds are where most of the capsaicin (the active ingredient in chiles that makes them hot) lives.
Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender; purée until smooth. Adjust seasoning as needed to taste.
A “Saucy Two-Step” meal plan based on making fresh salsa verde during the weekend and using it in quick, delicious meals during the busy work week.
An easy, gorgeous, healthy breakfast.
An easy, set-and-forget slow-cooker meal using fresh salsa verde. You’ll have enough leftovers to use for another dinner!
Perfect for using up leftover Green Chile Pork or rotisserie chicken. Creamy and delicious!
A fresh, delicious dip that’s incredibly easy to make.