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From the Kitchens of Pancho Villa has been awarded the honor of "WINNER" in the "Cookbooks: International" category of the 2014 International Book Awards!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Green Salsa

How To Make Green Salsa

Green can come from any number of green herbs, green chiles or green tomatillos. To make it even more difficult, there are cooked versions and fresh versions. Whew...... way too many decisions! Here are some common green salsas that my Mexican friends always make.

Green Chile Salsa

This is pretty easy. You will need some chiles, either jalapeño or serrano. Start with 2 or 3 chiles for just a small amount of salsa. Remove the stems and if you want to tame them, remove some or all of the seeds. Toss the chiles in a blender. Add in 1 thin slice of onion, 1 Tablespoon of cilantro leaves, ½ of one lime juiced, a couple tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. Add the water a small amount at a time so it doesn't get too watery. You can always add more if you need. The salsa should not be thick. Blend until very smooth and pour into a small bowl. This sauce is amazing on homemade tacos, burritos, refried beans, or as I do, on potato salad! You can substitute any of your favorite chiles in this recipe. Habaneros are great but if you are not used to the heat, you will feel like you just ate hot lava!

You can do the same salsa with different results just by tossing the chiles and garlic in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and discard the water. Remove the stems and any seeds you don't want. Pop everything into the blender and blitz. A totally different flavored salsa!

Herb Salsa

Have you ever made pesto? Same idea different ingredients. You will need either 1 bunch of cilantro or flat leaf parsley. At least one (or more) jalapeño or serrano chiles, 1 small clove of garlic and bit of water (the amount will vary depending on how thin you want the salsa).

Whether you use cilantro or parsley, it does not matter. The flavor will be totally different, but they are both wonderful. Cut and discard the tough stem ends from the cilantro or parsley, and place the remainder of the stems in with their leaves in a blender with the other ingredients. When adding the water, start with ¼ cup and go from there if you need to thin it out. Remember this salsa should be as liquid as the cooked tomato salsa. Blitz until you have a liquid salsa. This salsa is good on eggs, pasta, baked potatoes, shrimp, fish, pork, chicken. I would not use it on beef because the flavor is too delicate for beef.

I hope you try one or all of these salsas. Some ingredients may not be too familiar to you, but try them. Almost every produce department carries these items. They need to be fresh for your salsas to taste fresh. Mexican cooking is all about freshness and flavor. It DOES make a difference!

Tomatillo Salsa

This salsa is almost always cooked, at least the tomatillos are cooked.

I will assume that you know what in the heck tomatillos are. If not, then you need to Google them. Ok, so I Googled it for you... that will give you everything you wanted to know about tomatillos but were afraid to ask.

Ingredients you need: Start with 8 tomatillos. That doesn't make much salsa but it will give you the information you need to make more. 1/8 of a white onion, 1 small garlic clove, 1 or more jalapeño or serrano chiles, ¼ cup cilantro leaves, salt to taste.

So you bought these cute little green tomato looking things with a husk on them. What now? Remove the husk and throw it away. The tomatillo will be a little sticky after you do that, personally, I don't like the feel of that so I wash them with soap and water. Rinse them really good to get the soap off.

Bring some water to a boil in a small saucepan. When it is boiling, carefully pop in the tomatillos, chiles and whole garlic clove. In a very short time (3-4 minutes) you will see the tomatillos turn from a lovely green to a dull green. Remove them along with the garlic using a slotted spoon and place them in a blender. Leave the chiles in the water for about 2 minutes longer. Drain and discard the water. Remove the stems from the chiles and any seeds if you wish. Toss the chiles in the blender along with the onion, cilantro and a pinch of salt, do not omit the salt.

Pour into a bowl and serve over meat, vegetables, eggs, the list goes on. Or, use it as a dipping sauce for chips. This sauce freezes well.

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