Unexpected Tomatillo Salsa

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Roll with the unexpected, whether it be life or ingredients …

What, you ask, does a ceramic pig have to do with salsa?  Nothing.  But he looks a bit surprised, which fits with the general theme today.  Sometimes things just end up in your lap.  I recently promised my Uncle Bob in Maine that I would try my best to limit exotic ingredients in recipes here.  But then a pile of tomatillos from my neighborhood farmers’ market arrived at my desk at the end of a long day in clinic, complete with a recipe and adamant instructions to make it immediately.

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Let’s hear it for fall farmers’ market!

What could I do but go home and make it?  And I can verify that although the directions sound a bit odd (boiling tomatillos?) it’s actually super easy and, most importantly, super good!  I streamlined the process just a bit and decreased the amount of jalapenos by a LOT.  The original amount in the recipe would have blown the top of my head off.  But feel free to put in as many as you want!

Things have been hectic since the beginning of the school term, and for the past week I seem to have subsisted on frozen tamales, baked tofu and salmon.  A bit of an odd collection, but each one turned out to be beautifully enlivened by this delicious, spicy green salsa.  I have it on good authority that it’s also great with nachos …

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Pre-boiling …

Tomatillo Salsa:

  • 1 lb. tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 -3 jalapenos, depending on your fortitude
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • garlic cloves to taste
  • salt
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Post-boiling …

Put the tomatillos and jalapenos in a pot of water, and bring to a boil for 10 min.  They should be soft, but not falling apart.  Drain in a colander.  When cool enough to handle, seed the jalapenos.  Meanwhile, dice your onion, and finely chop cilantro.  Put the tomatillos, jalapenos, and garlic cloves in a food processor, and whiz for a minute.  Then pour into a bowl, and mix in the onion & cilantro.  Salt to taste.

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Just takes a minute of blending — don’t overdo it.  (I just threw the onion and cilantro in too to save a step.)

A note about the jalapenos … the original recipe called for five (gulp)!  I used three, and the result was quite firey for my gringa tastebuds.  I would suggest using one to start — you can always boil up another if you need it.  A friend was just relating the sad story of making green chili stew, which turned out so hot that it is now relegated to the freezer to become “starter” in small quantities for future soups!  This has happened to me more than once, and it’s always a bummer.  Actually, next time tomatillos come my way, I may make this salsa with some New Mexico roasted green chili.  And it is really good with some chopped avocado mixed in.  Mmmm …

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Northwest meets Southwest!
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