Made with green tomatillos, also known as Mexican husk tomatoes, this traditional salsa can be made raw or roasted. In this recipe I’m making a medium-spicy roasted version, which can be served over rice, beans, baked potatoes, or corn on the cob.
- 4 tomatillos
- ½ medium yellow or white onion
- 1 poblano pepper (about 3½ ounces)
- 2 small-medium cloves garlic
- ½ cup cilantro leaves (loosely packed)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (from ½ to 1 lime)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone oven-proof mat.
- To prepare the roasted vegetables, remove the papery husks from the tomatillos (discard) and then rinse well. Cut the half onion in half again. Remove the paper sheaths from each garlic clove. Now, place everything on the baking sheet, along with the whole poblano pepper (see photo below). Roast for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a bit.
- While the vegetables are roasting, place the cilantro, ground cumin, and lime juice into a blender.
- Add to the blender: the roasted tomatillos, onion, and garlic. Remove the stem and seeds from the roasted poblano pepper, and add it to the blender too. Blend until fairly smooth (a little texture is good, like a coarse puree). Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
Cumin: You can use pre-ground cumin for this, but you can also toast ½ teaspoon cumin seeds for even more flavor by placing them in a pan on low-medium heat. Stir them continuously until they become fragrant and darker in color. Remove the pan from the heat and let the seeds cool. Transfer to a small grinder or blender, and grind into a powder (before step 3). Since I don’t use salt, I like to add cumin for more flavor, but if you’re not a cumin fan, you can leave it out (or use a mild-to-medium chili powder instead).
Above: Ready to be roasted: the four husked tomatillos, two garlic cloves, dark green poblano pepper, and two quarters of an onion.
Above: The vegetables after roasting for 25 minutes (flipped over). I don’t like to char my veggies, but a little browning is okay. This amount of roasting softens the vegetables and deepens the flavors.
Above: The lime juice, cilantro leaves, and cumin seeds (I like to grind my own cumin for this recipe, see Notes; but you can use pre-ground as well. If you don’t like cumin, see Notes for ideas).
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