Saturday, March 30, 2013

Roasted Tomatillo and Pepper Salsa

Roasted Tomatillo and Pepper Salsa

I really love salsa and with the exception of pico de gallo and mango cucumber salsa, never attempted to make it at home. You walk into a super market and there is usually a decent selection of salsas made fresh or in jars that can be stored in your pantry for consumption at your earliest convenience. So if salsa is so readily available, why make your own? Why not? While growing my own tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos in the PNW is challenging, making your own salsa is not. I'm quite ashamed of myself for not really knowing what a tomatillo is and making my first batch of salsa only weeks ago.

Don't get me wrong. I've seen tomatillos at the super market before. I've even asked someone I was with what the green tomato-like vegetable with the odd looking skin was. They simply replied, "That's a tomatillo." Well of course, the sign says, "Tomatillo." What I wanted to know was what was it, how it tastes, what do you do with it? Once again the Wikipedia saves the day. The tomatillo is a fruit from the nightshade or potato family and is an important ingredient in Latin American green sauces. In addition to green and yellow, there are also purple and red varieties which are sweet rather than tart. 

This recipe is based loosely on several recipes I've seen on the internet (The Yummy Life and Inspired Taste). What I love about this is you can easily make modifications based on what your tastes are. It takes about 1.5 - 2 hours to complete.

~1.5lbs tomatillos (I used 11 of varying sizes)
6-7 peppers that meet your capsasin levels (I used 3 Poblanos, 4 Anaheims and 2 Serranos and would classify it as medium)
6 garlic gloves
1 tbsp lemon juice (I generously squeeze directly from the lemon)
1/4 cup cilantro (optional)
salt to taste

1) Preheat oven to 450ºF.

2) Remove and discard the husks from the tomatillos. Wash the tomatillos (they may be sticky), place in a baking dish and set aside. You can use a baking pan but I find a baking dish with raised sides works well to hold the juices released during the roasting process and nice container to blend things in. 

3) Line a baking sheet with foil. Wash and dry the peppers, and then place them on the baking sheet with unpeeled garlic cloves. 
Note: This is my lazy way to roast garlic. I prefer to cut the tops off garlic, place in a foil bowl, pour some olive oil on top and roast at 450ºF for about 30 minutes. The cloves can be easily squeezed out and used for a variety of things like spreading on bread.

4) Place the tomatillos and peppers into the oven and roast for 45 minutes. After 15 minutes, carefully rotate the peppers so the roast evenly. 
Peppers about 20 minutes in

5) After roasting, your peppers should be blackened and soft. Remove the tomatillos and peppers from the oven and allow to cool.
Roasted peppers
The tomatillos became soft and some leaked into the bowl

6) When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the stem, seeds and skin. If you grab the stem and gently pull, most of the seeds come out. I slide the pepper down the middle and scrape any remaining seeds with my knife. The skin should come off very easily after roasting.
Note: I highly recommend wearing gloves. I've had capsaicin from hot peppers burn my fingertips even after vigorously washing with soap and water. The last thing you want is to rub capsaisin in your eyes hours after handling peppers. 

7) Combine the tomatillos (skin, seeds and all), peppers, garlic, lemon juice and cilantro (if using) in a food processor, blender, or bowl if using a hand blender. Gently pulse until blended. I like my salsa with some texture so I pulse until the big chunks are gone.

After removing the seeds, I placed all the ingredients into the tomatillo dish. I didn't have any cilantro for this prep so it wasn't added but I liked the flavor of the salsa with the cilantro included.
8) Add salt to taste.
I made enough to fill a jar!

No comments:

Post a Comment