Salsa Verde (Tomatillo Salsa)

Salsa Verde (Tomatillo Salsa)
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salsa verde
A little spicy!

Tomatillos. What to do with tomatillos? These are always tough for us, as the flavor is rather unusual. Sort of a tart, astringent, tomato, we guess. We have trouble using them in some way other than just sneaking one or two of them into dishes in the hopes that the other ingredients will hide them. Such as  a slow-cooked tomato sauce. But, that’s like cheating. And, once, several years back, we made a Roasted Tomatilo Salsa. So, we decided that we’d revisit salsa, and go with something faster and easier to make.

The good thing about making salsa is it’s easy. The bad thing is that it’s just as easy to make bad salsa. And, we’ll fully admit, salsa is just not our forte, so our salsa tend to be less than stellar. At least in comparison to some of the great salsa that we’ve had in Mexican restaurants here in Tucson (our favorite salsa, though, actually came from a Guatemalan restaurant that has since closed: Maya Quetzal), but we think they hold their own against many of the national brands of “salsa.”

Salsa Verde (Tomatillo Salsa)

Yield: 1 cup

Salsa Verde (Tomatillo Salsa)


  • 4-6 tomatillos
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbs chopped white onion
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 guero pepper (or jalapeno), or to taste
  • Pinch red pepper flake
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

Abbreviated Instructions

Peel husks off tomatillos and wash in cold water to remove stickiness.

Roughly chop tomatillos and green onion and place in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to desired consistency.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Ingredient discussion:

You’ll note that we don’t have any cilantro in our salsa, which some people think is essential. We can only deal with cilantro in small amounts, so, if we got some, most would go to waste, and that would be bad. If you like cilantro, by all means, add a couple of tablespoons. The real key to good salsa, we find, is tart citrus. It’s not a good salsa without some tart citrus juice. We went with lemon, but lime would be great. We used a mix of alliums (onions and garlic), simply because we had them on hand and thought a mix would make a more interesting salsa.

Procedure in detail:

Basically, this recipe is dump all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until chopped, but we have a few photos, so we’ll use them.

making salsa
Just chop the large ingredients to get them started, then everything goes into a food processor.

Clean tomatillos. Tomatillos are odd, aren’t they, with that papery husk surrounding the fruit? Take off the husk and discard it, then pick up the tomatillo. Sticky. Right? Rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove that stickiness. Not all will go away, but get off most of it. Now, just chop the tomatillo into quarters and pop it into the bowl of a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients, chopping roughly as needed — we think the green onion  will need a bit of chopping.

making salsa
Pulse until the consistency is to your liking.

Pulse. Pulse the food processor a few times until you’re happy with the fineness. Like chunky salsa? Hit pulse a few times. Like soupy salsa? Let that baby run for 20-30 seconds. You’re at the controls and you know what you like, so go for it.

Taste and adjust. Pop the lid off the food processor and give the salsa a taste. Add more pepper if you want muy picante salsa, add more lemon if needed, or more salt, whatever you think it needs. Give it a quick pulse to combine and taste again. Better? Good.

Pack. Transfer to a small container and refrigerate several hours, so the flavors can meld, before serving.

This wasn’t a bad way to use those pesky tomatillos. It only took a few minutes to make, and it was as good as any jarred salsa verde that we’ve had, so we can’t complain. Would we say it’s a great salsa? Nah, probably not, but worth four stars.

Worth the trouble?

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