Sunday, September 11, 2011

Salsa de Tomatillo en Molcajete

In my opinion, these are really the glory days of the farmers' market. Summer delicacies like sweet corn and watermelon are still plentiful, but a bumper crop of apples and pears have started to appear and the first winter squash are making their appearance. As the seasons change, my diet will move toward heartier fare, but I'm not quite ready to let go of tastes of summer just yet, and couldn't resist another salsa with one of my favorite, but fleeting, ingredients, tomatillos. This is a fairly typical roasted tomatillo salsa recipe, with the exception of one ingredient-extra-virgin olive oil. Just one tablespoon of olive oil makes the salsa smooth and rich, a perfect contrast to the spice from the serranos and acidic punch of the lime juice. It's a great salsa to transition from summer to fall, with its roasted and luxurious flavor bridging the light and bright quality of summer fare with the smoky, hearty flavors of fall. While irresistible piled high on a tortilla chip, this salsa also makes a fantastic sauce for enchiladas (or topping for any other Mexican-inspired dish) and accompaniment to collegiate or NFL football.

Salsa de Tomatillo en Molcajete*
from Saveur
makes about 1 cup

1 lb. tomatillos, husked and rinsed
4 serrano chiles, stemmed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp. minced white onion
2 1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. olive oil

(*A molcajete is a Mexican mortar and pestle, typically made from basalt, traditionally used to grind spices, make guacamoles and salsa, and could be used here, if desired)

1. Position an oven rack 4" from broiler; heat to high. Place tomatillos, chiles, and garlic on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil, turning often, until blackened in spots and cooked through, about 10 minutes for the garlic and chiles, and 15 minutes for the tomatillos; remove each ingredient as it finishes cooking.

2. Place roasted chiles, garlic, and salt in a food processor and puree until smooth; add tomatillos, cilantro, onion, and lime juice. Pulse until roughly chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in oil.

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