Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

That chili/limi/cilantro is one of the great flavor combinations of all time.  No wonder it is one of the dominant flavors of not only Latin American cuisine, but also southeast Asia.  Personally, I can’t get enough of it.  I use the flavor base for marinades, braises, salsas, beans, coconut sauces, and anything else I think of.

Three ingredients, and of course, salt somewhere on the way.  This is my recipe for moderately spicy salsa verde. I used to not be a fan of salsa verde…  Green salsa.  How boring…. But having learned to make it correctly, accentuating the flavors in the right proportion, I have made a complete 180, and am now I in love with it.  Like most good things, a lot has to do with the technique.  Just because chili/lime/cilantro is a large part of the flavor profile, doesn’t necessary mean that your final product will be incredible.

The technique in making good salsa verde is two parts:  Step 1, char the vegetables thoroughly.  You want the skin to be charred, blistered and cracked.  This develops the sweetness within and adds a ‘grilled’ flavor.  Step 2: Season appropriately.  It’s a blanket statement, but don’t be afraid to add a little extra salt, a little extra lime juice, more cilantro.  Your taste buds know best, not just a recipe.

Salsa Verde

Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Inactive cook time: 1 hour
Yield: 2 cups salsa verde


1 1/2 or about 12 medium sized tomatilllos, peeled
3 jalapenos
2 habaneros
1 poblano pepper
1/2 red onion, peeled and roughly pulled apart
1/2 bunch cilantro, rough chop
juice of 4 limes
kosher salt
vegetable oil


Heat a gas grill to high or a build a medium high fire in a charcoal grill.  Make sure grates are clean and well oiled.  Toss the tomatillos, jalapenos, habaneros, poblano, and onion with enough oil to lightly and evenly coat, and enough salt to lightly coat.  Grill over direct heat until all sides have been charred, skins are blistered and cracking.  Let cool completely.  Remove all pepper stems and strip the peppers of the charred skin.  You do not need to be thorough in the this step; just remove what wants to come off, leave the rest on.  Put all charred veg in a blender, add the lime juice, cilantro and a little more salt.  Puree until just broken down.  You want it to retain some texture.  Check the seasoning.  You may find it needs more cilantro, more lime juice, more salt, or even a dash of hot sauce. You may also find that it needs nothing else.

Serve this with fried tortilla chips, in tacos, with carne asada or grilled steak, with carnitas, or with just about anything that might benefit from a boost of great chili/lime/cilantro flavor.


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