Roasted Tomatillo-Serrano Salsa

The best American name for this vegetable would probably be “Mexican green tomato”, but they actually taste nothing like regular tomatoes, In fact, the tomatillo is not a tomato at all. The tomatillo has a tart, lemony flavor that is enhance when cooked (especially roasted) and is an excellent base for salsas. While salsa (salsa verde) is the most popular way to enjoy tomatillo, they can be used in other ways. Tomatillos contain high amounts of vitamin A&C. Tomatillos are our #2 sales item!

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1 pound (10-12 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 to 3 fresh serrano chiles to taste
2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
Salt, about 1 teaspoon
Sugar, about 1 scant teaspoon (if tomatillos are too acidic)


Turn broiler to high. Place tomatillos on a baking sheet and place 4 inches below a very hot broiler. When the tomatillos blister, blacken and soften on one side, about 5 minutes, turn them over and roast the other side. Cool completely. Roast the chiles and garlic in a ungreased skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until blackened in spots and soft, 5 to 10 minutes for the chiles, about 15 minutes for the garlic. Cool, then pull the stems from the chiles and peel the garlic.

In a food processor or blender, add the roasted tomatillos, garlic and chiles (I used one and a half), pulsing until everything is reduced to a coarse puree. Scrape the salsa into a serving bowl, adding a 1/4 cup of water if it is too thick. You can complete all of these steps up to 2 days ahead of time.

Right before you are ready to serve, scoop the onion into a strainer, rinse under cold water and shake off any excess water. Add the onion and cilantro to the salsa, seasoning to taste with salt and sugar.

Recipe by Rick Bayless.