I would venture a bet that you’re reading this post as I sit here post-Irene. No electricity, no water in spite of the deluge of rain we’ve received during the first hurricane the Northeast has experienced in 20 years. My potted herbs and stringy cherry tomato plants have taken over my kitchen floor. The patio table stands awkwardly in my living room. I can only hope that as you read this, that no major damage to our home [that technically isn’t even our home anymore] has been sustained, that we are safe, that my family on the south shore of Long Island have weathered this storm in a similar fashion. That you and your families are safe. Mother Nature works in such mystifying ways, doesn’t she? An earthquake and a hurricane in one week. A winter that us New Englanders will never forget.
And through all this, we hunker down and we cook. We cook to prepare, we cook to pass the time. Isn’t it in our nature to turn to food and family in times of trouble? Or is that just the Italian in me? Either way, I made a big batch of this salsa verde before the hurricane hit this weekend after having made it (and fell in love with it) for the first time for a Tex-Mex-inspired dinner with friends last weekend. If you’re unfamiliar with salsa verde as I was, put simply, it’s roasted tomatillos and roasted garlic whirred up in the food processor with a bit of heat from the hot pepper of your choice (either a jalapeño or a serrano) added in. For this recipe, you’ll dry roast the tomatillos and garlic in a hot pan, similar to the method for this rustic roasted salsa. I can’t say enough about how much we adore this salsa. Unlike tomato-based salsa which leans towards the acidic side, the roasted tomatillos yield a sweet undertone that blends with a perfect amount of heat from a jalapeño and the addictive flavor of fresh cilantro. Along with a bag of blue corn tortilla chips on the hurricane preparedness list, this salsa will go a long way to helping you forget about the 80 mile per hour winds howling outside.
- 4-5 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved (about 8 ounces)
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1-2 jalapeño, seeded and ribs removed, roughly chopped
- about 1/3 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped cilantro
- 1/2 small white onion, chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Kosher salt
- Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lay the garlic and tomatillos (cut-side down) in the skillet. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the tomatillos are well-browned. Turn everything over and brown the other side (the tomatillos should be very soft). Remove the tomatillos and garlic and add to a food processor or blender. Allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the jalapeño, 1/4 cup of water, onions, cilantro, and lime juice to the food processor, and blend to a coarse purée. Add Kosher salt to taste. Pour into a dish and add more water if necessary, to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency.