Mexican Salsa Verde

I love a good sauce. Regardless of what I'm eating, it is always better with some kind of sauce or spread to liven things up a little and add some more flavor and complexity to the food. A couple of weeks ago, while I was perusing the farmer's market, a beautiful basket of tomatillos caught my eye. I had made salsa verde once before, and knew that I really enjoyed it, but I couldn't exactly remember what it was like, so I knew I had to try it again. I went to one of my favorite sauce books and, with a little adjustment for the ingredients I had, blitzed together this fresh and delicious sauce. It turned out so good; tart with just the right amount of heat, slightly warmed with a bit of cumin and packed with more flavor from the cilantro. This simple sauce is so easy to throw together, and turns out a real winner, perfect for everything from meat, to fish, to eggs, to a big bowl of chips, or simply for downing by the spoonful straight from the bowl!

The original recipe calls for 2 green serrano chiles plus 1 green jalepeno, however I only had a cayenne, and no serranos and this worked out wonderfully. I though there was just the right amount of heat. I ended up not putting very many of the seeds in, but if you like a hotter salsa go ahead and add more.

Salsa verde can be made either roasted or raw; I decided to go with the roasted because I think it adds just a bit more flavor from the bit of char that develops on the vegetables. After roasting, all it takes is a couple of blitzes in the food processor (or blender, or even mortar and pestle if you prefer) to combine everything into this fresh and tasty sauce.

Mexican Salsa Verde
Adapted from The Sauce Book by Paul Gayler

  • 1 green jalapeƱo
  • 1 green cayenne pepper
  • 8-10 fresh tomatillos, cut in half
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • a few handfuls cilantro leaves
  • salt and a good pinch of ground cumin

In a dry frying pan, toast the chiles, stirring occasionally, until aromatic and lightly charred with darkened spots. Transfer to a blender or food processor.

Add the tomatillos to the same pan and fry until charred, then add to blender or food processor along with the onion, garlic and cilantro.

Blitz until chopped to your desired sauce consistency, adding a little water if you need to. Season with salt and cumin to taste.