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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

the salsa worth waiting 2 years for {recipe}

We are a salsa family.

Like my dad before me who put ketchup on EVERYTHING (yes, even plain crullers from Dunkin' Donuts) we use salsa at most meals from omelets (goat cheese and cheddar topped with salsa) to chips and salsa as an afternoon snack before dinner. Simply, we love salsa.

One night two years ago my husband called me from Los Angeles. He was just leaving a client meeting at Rosa Mexicano and he had just tried the best salsa. Ever. When he got home he gave me the recipe which I tucked into my recipe box and we both promptly forgot about it. (Bad wife, I know.) That is until our friend Drew came over for dinner recently and brought some of the salsa he made using the recipe from L.A. It knocked our socks off.

And so, last night I tried the recipe, much to my husband's delight. It is more work that your typical salsa recipe but the depth and the smoky flavor of this salsa makes it a winner. The secret lies in the special smoky Pasilla de Oaxaca chiles which can be hard to find but worth the hunt. (We found the chiles in Seattle at World Spice Merchants at 1509 Western Avenue near Pike Place Market. You can also order the chiles online from them here. )

Warning: If you're a salsa afficionado, once you make this salsa, it will be hard for you to go back to traditional salsa.

Pasilla de Oaxaca Salsa {recipe}

1 pound tomatillos (about 20)
3 dried Pasilla de Oaxaca chiles
3 garlic cloves
Salt to taste


Pre-set oven to 450.

Peel the husks from the tomatillos and wash them thoroughly.  Arrange tomatillos on a nonstick cookie sheet and roast them for 15-20 minutes, turning them midway. They should be somewhat blackened in spots and softened. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

While tomatillos are roasting, place chiles in warm water to soften for 15 minutes.  Drain. Slice off stems and slice chiles down the middle. Scrape off as many seeds as possibly, set aside. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly after handling the chiles!

In a blender add the cooled tomatillos, chiles and garlic. Blend for 20 seconds. If you'd like a smoother consistency, blend for another 10 seconds.

Pour salsa into a bowl and season with a sprinkle of salt to taste.


Ed. Notes
  • Tomatillo husks are extremely sticky! It may take several washings to remove the stickiness that binds the husk to the tomatillo. Try peeling the husk off under running water.
  • The trick to perfect roasted tomatillos is in turning them. Be sure not to skip this step.
  • The chiles will soften in the water bath but they will not plump up. You want them just softened enough to allow you to scrape out the seeds. It isn't necessary to scrape out all the seeds but aim for 80% removed.

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