Fresh Green Tomatillo Sauce
Published by William Morrow
This green tomatillo version of the table salsa mexicana seems even more commonplace in Mexico’s snack parlors and street stalls than the red tomato one—partly, I suspect, because the cooked tomatillos make it more a sauce than a relish, and because it has a tasty puckeriness that deliciously heightens the flavor of whatever it goes on. The sauce is frequently within easy reach in cafeterias, too, paired with a hot red-chile sauce or salsa picante. They all get sprinkled on or stirred in, like the salt and pepper on our tables. This fresh green tomatillo sauce is a particular favorite in Central Mexico.
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Healthy, Lactose-free, Low Carb, Low Cholesterol, Low Saturated Fat, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Taste and TextureHerby, Hot & Spicy, Tangy, Tart
Type of DishCondiments, Sauces
- 8 ounces (5 or 6 medium) fresh tomatillos, husked and washed
- OR one 13-ounce can tomatillos, drained
- Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 chiles serranos or 1 chile jalapeno), stemmed
- 5 or 6 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
- ½ small onion, chopped
- Salt, about ½ teaspoon
The tomatillos: Boil fresh tomatillos in salted water to cover until barely tender, 8 to 10 minutes; drain. Canned tomatillos only need to be drained.
The puree: Place the tomatillos in a blender or food processor. If you want a milder sauce, seed the chile(s), then chop into small bits and add to the tomatillos along with the coriander and chopped onion; if using a blender, stir well. Blend or process to a coarse puree.
Finishing the sauce: Scrape into a sauce dish, thin to medium-thick consistency with about ¼ cup water, then season with salt. Let stand for about ½ hour before serving, for the flavors to blend.
Chunky Tomatillo Sauce: Prepare the sauce as described, finely chopping the chile, onion and coriander, then adding them to the blended tomatillos. If the chopped onion is rinsed, the sauce will sour less quickly.
All-Raw Tomatillo Relish: Prepare the sauce with chopped raw tomatillos, adding ¼ cup water before blending. Taste for salt and stir in additional water, if needed.
Tomatillos: If there is a choice, fresh tomatillos give this sauce a livelier flavor and color.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The sauce goes together in 15 or 20 minutes. It’s best eaten within 2 hours because the onion can get strong. It may need additional thinning (or even reblending) if it has set up (from the pectin in the tomatillos).
1987, 2007 Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless