Saturday, September 17, 2016

Charred salsa verde

Let me introduce you to the most frequently made recipe in my home: salsa verde.

I know it doesn't sound super fancy, but this isn't regular salsa verde, this is salsa verde. A single recipe so simple, yet bursting with flavor, that you'll plan your meals around this dish.

Why is this recipe so amazing?! Well, it's smokey and complex and full of flavor. You'll never need another salsa verde recipe again! But it's as simple as any other recipe you'll make, with only 4 main ingredients. So what's the difference? Technique.

One difference is that you char the *#$@ out of the veggies. Like to the point where you might think they're done broiling... but they're not.

Before...                                                        ...and after

Another is that you cook the salsa in some oil, which intensifies the flavor. (I skipped this step once, and while still delicious, it definitely wasn't the same.) Finally, you throw in a handful of fresh cilantro at the end, which brightens the whole dish.

The salsa is great for dipping (of course), but I have two favorite ways to serve the salsa:

1. Salad dressing.
I got this idea from Burrito Beach, which has an incredible smokey salsa verde that I use instead of salad dressing in my lettuce chicken bowl. It's way healthier than dressing, and has a ton of flavor. My salad here has lettuce, avocado, bell peppers, pickled onions, cilantro, and rotisserie chicken. I also like to add corn, black beans, tomato, and sliced cabbage.

2. Tostadas
I love our semi-regular taco night at home, and this smokey salsa verde takes it to another level. While I enjoy charred corn tortillas, brushing them with olive oil and baking them until crispy is my favorite way to eat the shell.

We almost always make our tostadas/tacos with soyrizo (TJ's makes my favorite soy chorizo) and re-fried beans. Toppings include avocado, cheese, white onion, tomato, cilantro, radishes, green chilies, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), salsa verde (of course), and green Tabasco sauce.

So however you enjoy your salsa verde, please please please just make this recipe.

Buen provecho,

Charred salsa verde, from Serious Eats

Step #4 below may seem superfluous, but I can guarantee you it's not. I made the recipe once without cooking it in the oil and the flavor was "flat" compared with the typical recipe. So definitely take the extra few minutes and don't skip that step!

1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, split in half (680g; about 10 medium)
1 medium white onion, peeled and split in half (about 6 ounces; 170g)
2 to 4 Serrano or jalapeƱo chilies (adjust according to spice tolerance, remove seeds and ribs for milder spice), split in half
10 to 15 sprigs cilantro, tough lower stems discarded

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt

  1. Adjust oven rack to 4 inches below broiler and preheat broiler to high. 
  2. Place tomatillos, onion, and chilies on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil until darkly charred and blackened on top and tomatillos are completely tender, 6 to 12 minutes. (I highly recommend charring for the full 12 minutes.)
  3. Transfer vegetables and their juice to a blender, food processor, or the cup of an immersion blender. Add half of cilantro. Blend in pulses until a rough puree is formed. 
  4. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over high heat until shimmering. Pour salsa into the hot oil all at once (it will steam and sputter). Immediately start stirring and continue to cook, stirring, until salsa is darkened and thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. 
  5. Finely chop remaining cilantro and stir into salsa. Season to taste with salt. Let cool, then serve. Salsa can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


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