I think I got my love for spicy food from my dad: I would watch him shake the hot sauce or spoon the chile peppers, grumbling “not spicy enough” under his breath while beads of sweat started to form just above his brow. I took it as a challenge, thinking that if it’s not spicy enough for him, it’s not spicy enough for me. This theory has resulted in a few miserable nights over the years as I try all the tricks to relieve the agony: drink milk, eat bananas, and never, never drink water—it’ll spread the fire!
So when it comes to my salsa, yes … heat is a must, but I also look for full flavors and just a hint of sweetness. With the Salsa Verde recipe (page 239) from The Garden-Fresh Cookbook, it’s easy to add personal flavors to make the salsa a signature dip come snacktime.
For my first Salsa Verde, I followed the recipe, all the while scheming for the next batch. Oh, yes, there will be extra chiles and spices.
The tomatillos were a beautiful color. While at the grocery store, I looked for firmness and a healthy husk. I avoided tomatillos that had wilted or off colored husks.
I used two vibrant red chiles and a sweet onion, along with a fresh clove of garlic, and for personal taste, I did not add cilantro.
Everything came together in the food processor, and I had a healthy afternoon snack in no time. For the next round of salsa, it’ll be a personal challenge to make a batch that trumps my dad’s “not spicy enough” comment!
For more heat, add some of the chile seeds
2 chiles, such as serrano or jalapeño, halved and seeded
1 medium onion, quartered
1 clove garlic, quartered
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon sugar
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Husk the tomatillos, then gently put them into a large pot of boiling water and blanch for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain. In a blender or food processor, chop the chiles to medium fine. Add the onion and garlic and chop again to medium fine. Add the cilantro, tomatillos, sugar, and salt and pulse until the ingredients are saucy. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the salsa and stir for 5 minutes. Cool and serve. Makes 2 to 3 cups.
Jane received her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts at Western Washington University where she studied Creative Writing. She now lives in the greater Seattle area, where she writes and drinks copious amounts of coffee. When she isn’t writing, cooking, gardening, or taking photos, you can find her at local shows and concerts, or running to prepare for yet another half marathon.