The Season for Salsa

2016-02-26 16.28.01 smNothing beats a good salsa. And there are limitless variations on the theme—tomato or tomatillo, cooked or raw, spicy or mild, cilantro or none…

If I’m using tomato, I prefer a raw salsa, but if I’m making salsa verde—based on tomatillos—I like it cooked.

I have a love/hate relationship with tomatillos. On the one hand, I quite enjoy them in salsa verde. On the other hand, we don’t tend to like them in any other form, so we’ve never been able to eat all the tomatillos produced by even one plant, and the rotting fruits in the garden are truly disgusting.

But salsa verde is a lovely alternative to ketchup on burgers and fries, is fantastic in burritos, and makes a great chip dip. I’ve seen many variations on salsa verde, but this is what I do.


500 g (1 lb) tomatillos, husked and rinsed

½ cup water

1 fresh chilli pepper or a pinch of cayenne

2 red sweet peppers, charred

1 onion

1 clove garlic

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp cream or half and half (optional)

salt to taste


To char the sweet peppers, spear a whole pepper on a fork and hold it over the flame of a gas burner, turning regularly, until the skin blackens. Drop the charred pepper into a bowl and cover with a plate for a few minutes to let the skin steam and loosen Peel off the blackened skin before using. Roughly chop tomatillos, chilli, sweet peppers, onion, and garlic. Place all ingredients except the cilantro and cream in a saucepan and cook 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the liquid is reduced by about a third.

Blend until smooth (I use my immersion blender). Stir in the cilantro and optional cream, and adjust the salt. Serve hot or chilled.

This sauce freezes well—I freeze it in small quantities and pull it out as we want it.


2 thoughts on “The Season for Salsa

  1. Have you ever tried to can your salsa?

    Last year we made hot sauce out of peppers only. This year we are going to try to make a tomatillo based salsa. Your recipe looks pretty good, the only difference is I would use more hot peppers.

    I like that you use cilantro. Here in San Diego it plays a large part in the local Mexican food. It seems many people outside of our area don’t like it, I have been told it tastes like soap.


    • Yeah, you either love cilantro or you think it tastes like soap (though I learned to love it…it is possible, even if you hate it at first). I have canned salsa verde in the past–just not with the cream in it. And we do hot sauce, too, sometimes, but I love my rieskas of dried chillis hanging in the kitchen, and that’s primarily how we save them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.