Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Variety Mexican food is the spice of life.

It, among a few other cuisines, is comfort food to me. Or hangover food. Or hunger food, or party food, or anytime food. I especially love the thousands of different moles and salsas (sauces). Made with fruits, vegetables, chiles, tomatoes, tomatilloes, jitomates, guajes, seeds, nuts, legumes - the list of combinations is endless! You can pretty much blend anything in a Mexican kitchen and it's a mole or a salsa. Or sometimes a beverage.

Too much fun in the kitchen with all the colours and flavours, but here's an easy one to spice things up. Use this as a salsa, sauce for entomatadas (like enchiladas but in a tomato-based sauce rather than a chile-based sauce), as a salad dressing, over roasted vegetables, tamales, eggs, fish, or chicken, mixed into rice as a side dish, or however else you want! Because you won't be able to stop eating it!

Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa/Sauce
Servings: makes 3 cups

- 10 medium/12 small tomatillos, papery husk and stem removed, rinsed
- 2 medium/3 small shallots, unpeeled and separated (or 1 small white onion, halved)
- 4 medium/6-8 small cloves garlic, skin on
- 1 serrano pepper
- 1 ripe Reed avocado or 2 Hass avocados
- 1 lime, juiced (or more if you want it really tart)
- 1/2 bunch or more cilantro
- 1 tsp sea salt (I use Himalayan salt for everything)

- 1 cast-iron or other heavy skillet - mine's small so I roasted the vegetables in 2 batches
- 1 bowl large enough to fit the roasted vegetables
- 1 lid for the bowl - doesn't have to be air-tight, a plate will do
- blender/food processor

1. In the skillet over medium heat, dry-roast (without using any oil), the tomatillos, garlic, serrano and shallots. If you're using the white onion, place each half cut-side down on the skillet.
2. Roast the vegetables on one side for 5-7 minutes, then turn and roast on the other side for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables have dark char spots.
3. Don't burn the vegetables! They should look like they do in the photo above.
4. If you burn the vegetables, go have a margarita and some salty chips and salsa somewhere nice. Start over with the salsa later.
5. Put the hot dry-roasted vegetables in the bowl and cover with the lid. Let it all sit for 10 minutes or longer, till cool enough to handle.
6. Peel the garlic and shallots/onion.
7. Cut the stem off the serrano pepper and de-seed if you want a mild salsa. I usually halve the pepper lengthwise, and de-seed one half, leave the seeds in the other half because I like a bit of smoky heat.
8. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh.
9. Blend everything including the roasted vegetables, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
10. Blend till the salsa is smooth, not chunky.
11. Adjust to taste... as more lime juice or salt.
12. If you want it spicier, blend in another roasted serrano or half of a raw serrano. Definitely not cayenne or any other dried powdered chile.

1. Lemon instead of lime will do in a pinch but lime will give it the fresh tartness rather than the touch of sweetness that lemon imparts to foods.
2. It'll still be delicious so go ahead and use that lemon because you're out of limes.

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