Green Tomato Recipe - Salsa Verde

I started making this salsa at home when I overplanted tomatillos in the garden one summer and ended up with far too many. It’s an amazing garnish for stewed black beans and can easily be used as a dip for chips. Often, I’ll pour some in a small sauté pan and crack an egg in, effectively poaching the egg. I pour this over some toast for a delicious breakfast or lunch. It also makes a spicy and colorful stewing sauce for pork. With tomatillos as a braising liquid the meat will come out fork tender with a hint of heat from the peppers. In order to make this salsa pantry-safe, acid should be added. Tomatillos, while a more acidic fruit, vary significantly and therefore do well with the addition of lemon juice. Store-bought lemon juice is the way to go as the acid levels have been tested, unlike in fresh fruits. Because there is so much lemon juice, this preserve really needs time in the cupboard to mellow. If you want to make a fresh salsa verde, just omit the lemon juice and store in your fridge. The sheer versatility of the final preserve and ease of preparation make this a great one to try for a novice canner. It’s a great savory addition to any well-stocked pantry.

Tomatillo Salsa

Makes about 2 pints or 4 half pints | start to finish:  1 hour 2 1/2 pounds tomatillos, papers removed 2 poblano or pasilla peppers 1 jalapeno pepper 1 medium red onion, outer skin peeled and sliced into rings 2 cloves garlic 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup) 1/2 cups lemon juice 2 teaspoons salt Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss peppers and onion rings in olive oil to coat and place on a sheet pan. Roast in oven until charred and cooked through, about 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Add to bowl and cover to let steam and cool, about 20 minutes. Remove stems and seeds from peppers. Peel out skin of peppers. Roughly chop peppers and onions and set aside in a small bowl.

Meanwhile, cut tomatillos in half. Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat until pan is hot. In dry pan, place tomatillos in a single layer, cut side down.  Don’t move them around in the pan, just let them sit and get charred, about 8 to 12 minutes. When fully charred, add tomatillos to small bowl and cover to let steam until soft. Add garlic cloves to the pan and char in the same fashion. Continue charring tomatillos and garlic until all are cooked and softened through.

In bowl of a blender, add peppers, onions, tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice and salt. Blend at low speed until all ingredients are just combined. Pour into preserving jars. Using a damp, clean towel, wipe the rims of the jars, and top the jars with lids and rings. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes for half pints, 25 minutes for pint jars. Remove each jar with tongs and let cool on the counter. Once cool, make sure seals are secure. Sealed jars may be stored in a cool dark cupboard for up to one year.

PHOTO BY DELLA CHEN

Originally published in Edible Seattle, Sept/Oct 2010