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.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa [Salsa Verde]

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.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

  • Prep Time: 10min
  • Cook Time: 10min
  • Yield: about 2 cups


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
½ small white onion, chopped
Juice of ½ lime
Kosher salt


  • 01

    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).

  • 02

    Remove the tomatillos and garlic and add to a food processor or blender.  Allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes.

  • 03

    Add the jalapeño, ¼ 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.

adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless, as seen on Pink Parsley

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Leave a Comment

  • August 29, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    Best. Salsa. Ever.

  • August 29, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    This was something I was so looking for! We have some mini tomatillos from our CSA so I’m totally making some salsa verde for our quesadillas this week!

  • August 29, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    Amazing! I love salsa verde…I almost like it more than regular salsa…almost hehe. This one looks like it could take prize though. Looks great!

  • September 1, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    A fellow New Englander, a fellow food blogger, and a fellow Italian to boot! No wonder I like your site so much. I’ve been transplanted to Chicago, and it just so happens we chose this past weekend, of all weekends, to visit friends and family in New England. I’ve talked about it a bit in my posting this morning (http://www.fransfavs.com/2011/09/grandmommys-eggs/). You might also enjoy my tomatillo salsa that is modeled after my regular chopped tomato salsa (http://www.fransfavs.com/2011/07/tomatillo-salsa/). I love tomatillos and can’t wait to try yours. I hope when all is said and done that you and everyone else have come through Hurricane Irene OK.

  • Julian
    July 18, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    Have you ever tried fire roasting the tomatillos? What about grilling the jalapeno pepper as well?

    However, this will be a future made salsa verde.


    • July 18, 2012 at 6:39 AM

      Julian: I haven’t tried either but I’m sure either would work fine. I’m not sure how I would even fire roast the tomatillos though – is it just done in a hot oven or over an open flame? (Forgive me for my ignorance on this – you start to take advantage of the descriptions on canned products and take for granted how some food is actually prepared.)

  • Juliana
    January 2, 2013 at 4:37 AM

    I’m sorry but nothing bothers me more than when people cook traditional Mexican dishes and refer to them as “Tex-Mex” or “South West” I feel the culture behind these dishes is being appropriated by a different name as if people were ashamed to admit where they’re from. Salsa Verde is 100% Mexican and has been made in my family for generations and generations. Good recipe though!