Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

Salsa Cruda de Tomate Verde

This is my default salsa when time is of the essence: toss everything in the blender, turn it on, enjoy the fresh-fresh tang of tomatillo salsa. But enjoy it within an hour or so—after that the flavors start to fade. If you want to add a little white onion, as many cooks in Mexico do, chop it separately, run it under cold water to minimize its pungency, and stir it into the blended salsa. The salsa comes off like one of those relishy mint chutneys you frequently find in Indian restaurants. If raw garlic isn't your thing, poke a whole in the side of two cloves of unpeeled garlic, microwave them for 30 seconds, peel and add to the blender. They'll add a mellower, sweeter flavor.

By Rick Bayless
Serves 1 1/2 cups

  • 4 medium (about 8 ounces total) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and quartered
  • Hot green chiles to taste (I like 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño), stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro
  • Salt

Combine tomatillos, garlic, chile and cilantro in a blender jar or food processor. Add ¼ cup water and a generous ½ teaspoon salt. Process to a coarse puree. If using a blender, begin blending on low, at first pulsing to get the mixture moving evenly through the blender blades. Pour into a salsa dish and thin with a little more water if necessary to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency. Taste and season with additional salt, if you think necessary. Serve right away.

Riffs on Fresh Tomatillo Salsa:
Replace or augment the cilantro with (1) lemony herbs like lemon balm, lemon verbena or a little finely sliced kaffir lime leaf; (2) finely grated citrus zest from kaffir or key limes or from lemons (Meyer lemon zest is particular good); or (3) unexpected herbs like basil, flat-leaf parsley, fennel fronds (the green feathery “leaves”), mint or hoja santa.

Spicy Cilantro Scrambled Eggs:
In a very large (12-inch) skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high. When hot, add the salsa, and stir until reduced and thick, about 4 minutes. Add 8 eggs (beaten to mix yolks and whites) and stir slowly, scraping all the way across the bottom of the pan, until the scrambled eggs are as done as you like. Top with more cilantro and serve right away.

Mexican Everyday cookbook by Chef Rick Bayless

Recipe from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless.