Photo: Arbol, Tomatillo, and Chipotle Salsas
Salsas are the heart and soul of the Mexican kitchen. We use them in hundreds of recipes, from soups and stews to casseroles and tamales. We serve these salsas at our restaurants with freshly fried tortilla chips.
We love the acid bite of raw tomatillos in this quick uncooked sauce. Use it to counter rich, creamy dishes like tamales, or with any simply grilled fish.
Makes 3 1/2 cups
1 pound tomatillos, husked, washed, and cut into quarters
2 to 4 large jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded if desired, and roughly chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup cold water, if needed
1/2 medium onion, cut in half
2 bunches cilantro, stems and leaves
2 teaspoons salt
Place tomatillos and jalapeños in a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade. Puree just until chunky, adding a little water if necessary. Add onion, cilantro, and salt and puree about 2 minutes more, or until no large chunks remain. This salsa keeps in the refrigerator, in a covered container, about 3 days.
The pepperiness of arbol chiles is balanced with sweet tomatoes and tart green tomatillos. An assertive sauce such as this one goes well with beef or pork – it would be perfect under a grilled riy eye steak or pork chops.
Makes 2 1/2 cups
1/2 pound Roma tomatoes
3/4 pound tomatillos, husked and washed
1 cup (30 to 40) arbol chiles
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only, roughly chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups water
1 teaspoom salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the broiler. Place the tomatoes and tomatillos on a baking sheet. Broil, turn occasionally, until charred all over, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a saucepan along with the remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil and cook until the onions are soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor or blender. Puree and then strain. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Arbol salsa can be stored in the refrigerator 3 to 5 days or frozen for weeks.
This earthy brown salsa lends a typical Mexican smokiness and heat to any food it touches. We use it in our marinades, soups, and salad dressings.
Makes 6 cups
4 ounces (about 25 to 30) dried chipotle chiles or 3 cups canned chipotle chiles, stemmed
8 ripe Roma tomatoes, cored
12 garlic cloves, peeled
2 quarts of water
2 tablespoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, about 20 minutes. The liquid should be reduced by one third and the tomato skins should be falling off. Set aside to cool.
Pour the mixture into a blender or a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Puree until smooth and then pass through a strainer. Serve chilled. Chipotle salsa can be stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days or frozen.