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Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

While many types of green salsa feature cooked or roasted tomatillos, this one is a simple mixture of fresh ingredients that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes.  But it’s not just the ease of preparation that makes this salsa great – I absolutely love the texture and refreshing flavor of the fresh tomatillos.

Beneath their thin, papery husks, tomatillos look much like small green tomatoes.  But unlike their sweet and juicy cousins, tomatillos are mostly eaten while still firm and tart.  Choose tomatillos that are small, firm, and bright green with fresh-looking husks.  They can be stored on the counter for a few days or in the fridge for a couple of weeks.  Leave the husks on the fruit until ready to use.  To prepare tomatillos, remove the husk and stem and rinse off the remaining sticky residue that coats the fruit.

Tomatillos form the base of many delicious Latin American sauces, but I think their bright flavor really shines in this simple salsa verde.  If you’re new to using tomatillos this is a perfect place to start.

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa
adapted from Mexican Everyday
serves four

1/2 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
2 serrano peppers or 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped*
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
squeeze of fresh lime juice**

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse to combine and get juices flowing.  Blend on low speed until a coarse puree is formed.  Pour into a dish, taste and add more salt or lime if desired.  Salsa can be thinned with a bit of water if desired.

Recipe Notes: *This amount of chiles produces a medium-spicy salsa; if you’d like it milder, use only one serrano or half a jalapeño.  If you want an extremely mild salsa (no heat), remove seeds from peppers.  **The lime juice is entirely optional as the tomatillos will lend their own tartness to the salsa.  I like lime with cilantro, so I always use a bit.

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