Grilled Salsa Verde
Salsa comes in a variety of colors … red, yellow, orange, or green. It can be yellow or orange if it is pineapple or mango based and those are often served with fish or shrimp. SO delicious! Red or green is what is usually served with most other tacos and their color comes from tomatoes or tomatillos. But Grilled Salsa Verde?! Oof … so good!
Are tomatillos like green tomatoes?
Tomatillos look a little like green tomatoes and while they are in the same plant family, they are not the same fruit. Tomatillos have a sticky skin and stay green even when they are ripe, which is when their papery husks break apart. The husk is the reason they are also called “husk tomatoes”.
There are many ways to make a grilled salsa verde! There are many herbs and peppers that are green, obviously, and that’s what this salsa is … VERDE!
This particular combination is a base of tomatillos accented with green pepper, poblanos, jalapenos, hatch chiles, onions, and garlic … all grilled! And don’t forget the salt!
Grilling is what sets this salsa apart. The smoky flavor is necessary and so delicious with the spiciness of the peppers.
What if I don’t have a grill?!
Don’t let not having a grill or it not being grilling weather keep you from making this salsa! Use the flame on a gas stove, use the broiler, use a cast iron skillet, or use your fireplace! Wouldn’t that be fun?!
Feel free to put whatever char you prefer on the vegetables. I find that the darker, the better because they get softer and the peppers become a bit more mild. You can also choose to take the charred skins off or leave them on. I take a bit off and leave a bit on because I like the extra bit of smoky flavor.
The tomatillos should be grilled with the husks on. Some of them will burn off, and the rest, you should remove before blending the salsa. Don’t worry about getting the tomatillos completely soft before removing them from the grill. If you do, you’ll have a mess on your hands. Just a bit of softness and char is what you’re after.
Put everything in the container of a blender and blend until you reach the consistency you prefer. Chunkier if you like or smoother if you prefer. It might depend on what you are using it for … are you dunking chips in it or are you using it to garnish tacos or to braise pork in? It really doesn’t matter because it is delicious in any form!
This recipe as written makes about two quarts of salsa and that’s a lot! Of course, you can scale the recipe down, or you can give some to neighbors and friends. You can also freeze it!
Tips for freezing Grilled Salsa Verde
- Let the salsa cool completely after grilling and blending.
- Use wide-mouthed jars. As the salsa freezes it will expand and as it does, it can break the jar. That is NOT the mess you want to find in your freezer!
- Put the jars in the freezer without the lids. That will help prevent the expansion that might cause the jars to break. After it’s frozen, feel free to cap it, of course.
Grilled Salsa Verde
- 20 tomatillos in husks
- 3 Hatch chiles
- 1 green pepper
- 2 poblano peppers
- 1 onion thickly sliced
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 6 garlic cloves
- salt to season
- Heat grill to high.
- Place all vegetables on the grill. Turn the peppers as they char and remove the vegetables as the get soft and charred.
- When cool enough to handle, peel the tomatillo husks and remove the stems and seeds from the peppers and some of the pepper skins. If you want more spicy heat, you can leave the seeds and even add more peppers!
- Put all the grilled vegetables in the blender and run until the salsa is the consistency that you prefer.
- Pour into pint or quart jars and use within 2 weeks or freeze.
- If Hatch chiles aren’t in season, use more poblanos and jalapenos. Poblanos don’t have much spicy heat so if you want more spice, use more jalapenos.
- I put the garlic cloves in foil on the grill to keep them from falling between the grates of the grill. Puncture the skin with the point of your knife to keep them from exploding!