One of my fave, go-to party side dishes is a salsa bar. It is so easy, inexpensive and flavorful to buy a couple bags of tortilla chips and let my friends dip to their hearts' content. I normally like to have at least a tomato based salsa and a fruit based salsa to satisfy my love for all things savory-sweet! For years, my go-tos were a simple homemade pico de gallo and my Mom's kick-butt mango nectarine salsa [http://vickisawyer.com/recipes.php#mango]. My salsa bar needed another component. It was craving a sour foil to the savory and sweet. Enter tomatillos!
I had tried a few different salsa verdes while out to eat. It wasn't until I tried one that was packed with cumin and was the perfect balance of spicy, sweet and sour that I realized that I HAD to figure out how to make this awesome dish. I had never cooked with tomatillos before but was very willing to experiment if it meant eating this salsa on a regular basis.
1 jalapeno pepper
15 tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
1 T olive oil
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 T cumin, as per usual, I love mashing cumin seeds in my mortar and pestle
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
Juice of one lime, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons
1 t sugar
Turn your broiler on. Add the whole tomatillos and jalapeno to a baking dish. Sprinkle with olive oil. Broil until skins on tomatillos have begun to turn black and the jalapeno has begun to blister. You will have keep an eye on these. I am convinced that I have a really slow-working broiler, I can let things sit under my broiler forever. Alas, this means that I can’t give you an estimated broil time.
Once tomatillos and jalapeno have blackened a bit, remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. I have made this salsa by immediately putting the blackened tomatillos in with my fresh ingredients, it still tastes great but the fresh flavor in the other ingredients gets lost a bit. Also, you don’t get as pretty of a color because the cilantro turns brown from the heat.
Place your onion, cumin, salt, pepper, cilantro, lime juice and sugar into a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to incorporate and reduce the size of the chopped onion and cilantro.
Add the cooled tomatillos, pepper and pan juices into your blender or food processor and pulse several more times until there are no large chunks of tomatillo and all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
This is awesome with chips. You could also use it as an enchilada sauce by smothering your stuffed and rolled tortillas with the salsa, then covering with cheese and baking at 375 for 15 minutes until gloopy and bubbly.