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Classic Salsa Verde

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Tomatillos and fresh chiles give this salsa a bright, "green" flavor, and roasting the ingredients gives a smoky element (plus it loosens the chiles' skins). Mexican cooks traditionally use a griddle or comal to toast salsa ingredients, but a broiler chars the chiles more evenly.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 thick slice onion
  • 1 large poblano chile
  • 1 1/2 medium serrano chiles
  • 1/2 ripe avocado (optional), peeled
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 whole garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 About 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Details

Servings 2
Preparation time 30mins
Cooking time 30mins

Preparation

Step 1

Preheat broiler and set a rack 3 inches from heating element. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil and set tomatillos, onion, poblano, and serranos in it.

Broil the vegetables, turning as needed, until tomatillos and onion are speckled brown and chiles are black all over 12 to 15 minutes; as vegetables are done, transfer to a bowl. Cover vegetables with a plate or foil and let stand about 5 minutes for chile skins to loosen.

Pull off stems and blackened skins from chiles; for best flavor, don't rinse chiles (a few blackened bits are okay to leave on). Open poblano and remove seeds.

In a food processor, pulse vegetables and any juices; avocado, if using; cilantro; and garlic until coarsely puréed. Scrape into a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup water, lime juice, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Season to taste with salt.

*NOTE:
Tart-tasting tomatillos look like green tomatoes with papery husks. Poblanos (sometimes mislabeled as pasillas) are large, meaty, deep green chiles with a fairly mild flavor; find them in your grocery store's produce section.

MAKE AHEAD:
Chill up to 2 days; if using avocado, smooth plastic wrap against surface and chill up to 1 day only.

ADD HEAT TO TASTE:
You can control the heat of a salsa by adjusting the heat of the chiles. Slice off the top of each chile, being sure to cut through the ribs and seeds, where the heat-producing compound capsaicin is concentrated. Test the chile's fire by touching the top to your tongue (each chile has a different heat level). Adjust the heat, if you want a milder salsa, by splitting the chile and scraping out some or all of the ribs and seeds. If your skin is sensitive, wear kitchen gloves or hold chiles with a fork -and don't touch your eyes.

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