Imagine for a moment you are eating a perfectly prepared carnitas taco : rich pulled pork is made slightly crunchy by being deep fried; sweet and slightly spicy raw onions have been sprinkled liberally over top and together with thinly sliced radishes lend a crisp and refreshing snap to your food; completing the flavor profile is the soft, rich, fresh homemade corn tortilla, made irresistible by the soft, yielding texture of stone ground masa (corn) flour. The best prepared carnitas taco is nearly perfect on its own. I say nearly because one of my favorite combinations of flavors is to add something with a tart, acidic flavor to rich fatty meat; in my opinion it cuts the fattiness of the meat just enough to really compliment (in fact, a lot of Latin flavors depend upon this fatty meat and acid combination; one of the main reasons I suspect these dishes are so popular). Enter that most humble and yet quietly outstanding of condiments, tomatillo salsa. Tomatillos are not related to tomatoes, even though they give the appearance in texture and shape and even in the seeds. They're actually a rather large and tart berry and they make some of the best salsa one can eat! The recipe is simple, but part of the fun is knowing what you can eat the salsa with. I recommend anything rich with animal fat, such as steak al pastor or carnitas. This salsa is also my favorite to eat with freshly made tortilla chips. Feel free to adjust the amount/type of hot pepper; I made this batch for my in laws to be, who have an extremely low spice tolerance, so I'd describe the spice level of this salsa to be mild.
Makes about 6 ounces
3 tomatillos, husks removed & chopped roughly
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Small pinch of salt
1 cm green serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed
1/2 a small yellow onion, roughly chopped
5 sprigs cilantro, stem ends trimmed off
1. Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Pulse 10x for about 3 seconds each, or until all ingredients are smooth.
2. Serve with chips or main dish of choice.
If the salsa has been allowed to sit, mix gently before serving for best consistency.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and I welcome your feedback!
Stay tuned for beef stroganoff toward the end of this week!