I first got excited about Mexican food when I lived in Dallas. There it’s really “Tex-Mex” though this local variation uses a lot of the same ingredients that you’d find south of the border. I would never make it at home, though. Somehow, the cuisine seemed too difficult.
In San Francisco, burritos are very popular. And though they can be quite good, I miss the complex array of dishes that can be found at a more conventional Mexican restaurant. Since I couldn’t easily get this kind of food here, I learned how to make some Mexican dishes at home. One of the critical skills is preparing good salsas. Now I can make about a half dozen but this tomatillo one is the most popular at my house.
It’s very simple to prepare at home and always tastes better than similar store-bought kinds. The tomatillo has a pleasing sour flavor like tamarind. The serrano chiles add some heat. If you like it hotter, just leave more of the seeds or some of the ribs of the chiles; for less spice, use fewer chiles.
6 to 8 fresh tomatillos
3 cloves garlic with peels
2 fresh serrano or similar green chiles
1 small onion, peeled and cut in half
Sea salt to taste
Peel and wash tomatillos thoroughly. Cut in half and remove stems. Boil for five minutes then drain.
Heat dry cast iron pan on high. Throw in garlic, onion and chiles. Roast until vegetables begin to char, turning occasionally. Remove from heat. Peel garlic. Remove chile stems, seeds and ribs.
Add all ingredients to food processor. Process until smooth. Adjust salt to taste. Serve with rice and beans, tortilla chips, on burritos or with any Mexican style dish.