I always feel like a good verde salsa has a bit of a lime flavor to it. I never see it in the ingredients. Wouldn’t you know; tomatillos have a lime-like flavor on their own! However, sometimes I like a little extra as I scoop up spoonfuls of this salsa. This definitely has an extra tang of lime for a hot summer treat and makes some extra zesty chilaquiles.
For the longest time I would refuse to make my own salsa. My mom always made a version of regular ol’ red salsa I thought was okay, but never loved. Reasonably so, the texture of gritty store-bought conventional tomatoes among a slurry of nearly neon red tomato sauce is enough to turn anyone off from the stuff.
I’m a snob – so be it.
I have always intimidated myself away from making salsa. That is, until my husband requested that I try my hand at salsa verde. He loves my cooking, and I did not want to admit I was afraid to make salsa. So, what is a proud Chicana do?
Admit defeat? Say, “honey, I’ll never make you salsa. You purchase the one made at the store”? Maybe a flurry of excuses that roll off the tongue? “My blender is terrible”, “tomatillos are not in season”, “my salsa is too hot for you”. What did he expect to hear?
That said, my response was simple. Feeling the unending pressure to be capable of such a masterpiece, such a convention to our culture, such a requirement to nearly breathing! I picked up my bags and said, “of course!” I went directly to the Mexican market and picked up the freshest, most beautiful ingredients. Serrano chiles, savory cilantro, and beautiful, papery tomatillos.
The first batch was perfect. It was beautiful! Lime-y, garlicky and full of flavor. It was beautiful on the meal I had prepared for myself and my husband that night. Laced with 6 – count ‘em! – 6 serrano chiles, I thought I was the baller. I was the newly crowned queen of salsa – I was a winner! He would never know I had never made salsa before. He was extremely excited to bring some for lunch the next day.
This baller, this newly-crowned salsa queen, this WINNER did not think about the effect acidic tomatillos would have on the capsaicin among the chiles. So much for science.
Needless to say, I am surprised the container that held the salsa did not melt into his lunch.
I have since continued making verde salsa, with less chiles. Make sure that you realize that the heat will increase the next day, as the salsa has time to sit.
Lime Infused Verde Salsa
yields 2.5 cups
- 20 ounces (or 9-10) tomatillos
- Heat options: 1 jalapeño (mild), 2 jalapeños or 2 serranos (medium), 3-4 serranos (hot), or 5-6 serranos for plenty of heat.
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2-3 tbsp cilantro (If you are one of those people that hates cilantro, you can leave it out. I love it!)
- Zest of one medium lime, and it’s juice
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Prep your peppers and tomatillos: Peel off the papery husk, and wash tomatillos well – they will be sticky. Cut out the stems.Prep your peppers by cutting out the stem. (I leave the veins and seeds in, but that is a personal preference.)
Lay them all in a roasting pan and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until browned/blackened. Add tomatillos and peppers directly to a blender, and begin to blend until smooth. Add in all remaining ingredients and blend. Let cool, or serve warm with perfect tortilla chips