In reality preparing salsa verde -green salsa- is very easy and the only secret lies on choosing fresh ingredients.
The tomatillo is a member of the little berries family (cape berries) and its originally from Mexico. As I mentioned before, it is a fruit. The plant on its own is quite pretty if you manage to grow it -I failed miserably last year- and blooms with a beautiful yellow flower that eventually transforms into the husk which will contain the precious fruit. It belongs to the night shade family but loves sun... go figure.
There are out there many recipes for salsa verde, no doubt, but this one (one of Frida Kahlo's favorites) is a very easy salsa to do and loaded of flavor.
As I mentioned in others posts I don't eat spicy whatsoever because of my Crohns. but if like to spice things up... go crazy with the Serrano peppers!
Cooking time: : 45 Minutes Yields 1 Liter (kind of)
1 Kg Fresh Tomatillos
1 Cup of water
3/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro -chopped-
4 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 Medium Onion finely chopped
4 Serrano Chiles -optional-
- Salt to taste
1. Remove the husks (that you can keep for couple of days if you are cooking tamales) and wash the tomatillos as they are a bit sticky just fresh out of the husk.
2. We are going to cook in a medium pan with lid all the tomatillos (don't cut them!) in medium heat... and you probably are going to think that one cup of water is not enough...I promise it is. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until most tomatillos are a bit soft but they are not disintegrating.
3. While the tomatillos are cooking we roughly chop the cilantro -and now you will think that this amount of cilantro is not enough for the amount o tomatillos-... it is. Reserve
4. Finely chop the onion (even though sometimes I like it roughly chopped for texture) -again you will be doubting me...it looks like a lot and it isn't-. Reserve
5. By now the tomatillos should be ready and hot. We are going to blend them with any leftover water that is in the pan (now if you are one of those traditionalists you can always do it the Aztec way with a molcajete...good luck) until we get a consistent texture, then we add the cilantro and blend again for one minute. Reserve
6. In a big frying pan we heat the oil and sauté the onion until a bit clear -at medium high- and then we can add the Serrano peppers roughly chopped for about half a minute. As I mentioned before, I don't use any peppers whatsoever and nobody that has eaten my dishes ever complained.
7. When the onion is a bit clear we add the tomatillo/cilantro mix and mix toughly. Then we keep it, low-medium heat, covered with a lid for 20 minutes. You can stir now and then.
8. After the 20 minutes our salsa should be almost ready so this is the perfect time to add salt to taste. In my case I only add half a teaspoon.
9. Now the salsa is ready and the house smells fantastic. Now we can serve accompanying tacos, green enchiladas, with totopos (crisps tortillas) or you can just can it for a later time, which I do. It freezes very well also.
** Some people like to add two garlic cloves and fry them with the onion (chopped).. I don't do it because somehow I think it overwhelms the tomatillo flavor.