Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Salsa verde y fiesta

Sorry for the delay: have been on a little vacaciones in Central Oregon. Sun, swimming and hot tubbing under a kajillion stars. But before we left, I found myself with a bag of fresh tomatillos, onions, and a whole bunch of chiles. I'll get to the family birthday bbq in a minute, but AdRi's mom brought and left a bunch of stuff, and I saw we had the perfect set up for some tasty tomatillo salsa. We've made lots of the salsas in recipes by Rick Bayless, and once you figure it out, it's pretty easy. Lots of roasting, lots of pureeing in the food processor, and you're good.

Here are the tomatillos: you remove the outer paper shell and wash them. They naturally have a sticky residue, but it comes off when you wash them. Tomatillos are also called ground cherries, and they have a terrific tanginess to them. We've grown them in the garden before, and they do well in Portland, especially if we're having a hot summer.

Then come the chiles. I found in the grab bag left at the house a selection of anaheim and jalapeno chiles. Anaheims are usually pretty mellow, so I figured the jalapenos would provide the kick.
chiles before roasting

Roast them in the oven, broiling them about 4 inches from the broiler, until they start to char and the skin bubbbles. Turn them over and do that to the other side as well.
roasted chiles

With the tomatillos, roast them in a pan that can capture their juices when they soften, and they'll turn from a bright green to more of an olive color.
roasted tomatillos
Do the same with a pan full of onion cut into rings and about 5 garlic cloves.
Then puree everything up, add about a cup of water to help with the consistency, and season with a moderate amount of salt and sugar. It's the tomatillos that require the addition of sugar, but if you like their tangy taste, you don't have to. Stir in a bunch of chopped cilantro and voila:

Freezed half of it, cooked with some of it, and brought it along for chips and salsa on our trip. Super local, super fresh, and super tasty. Yet another reason to love summer.

And for the questions about the homemade tortillas, no, it's not me who makes them. It's this amazing woman: AdRi's mom. Tortilla maker extraordinare.
La Senorita

The BBQ and family party was fun. Some fresh salads,
caprese salad with homegrown cherry tomatoes
cous cous salad

some carne asada brought from a small carineceria in Hillsboro (carne asada is a very thin strip steak seasoned with a dry rub of mexican spices) and grilled on the BBQ,
carne asada

and a whole lot of visiting. Good times, good times.


Mark H said...

We have only always CANNED the tomatillo salsa, so no roasting...and we've used it on lots-o-things, make chili-verde with it, etc. BUT your method with roasting sounds fantastic. I do believe we'll be making some here in about 3 weeks with our own "stuff"...COOL.Thanks! Now. About that Carniceria. WHICH ONE? I'll bet YOU TWO KNOW the BEST...after the cooking discussions last couple of posts. Please let us know!

Great recipe input here and photos, Lelo. Inspiring! I'm hungry.

WenWhit said...



patti_cake said...

That looks so tasty, carne asada... Yummm!
AdRi's Mom looks like she'd be a lot of fun!

Neva said...

I've tried and tried and tried, but I can't make a tortilla if my life depends on it. I'm envious that AdRi's mom has that talent!

LeLo in NoPo said...

Neva, I can't make them either. But I'm determined to figure it out with the help of AdRi's mom. She does it without measuring and all by touch: wish me luck.

Mark, we recently tried the carne asada from the carneceria near us, on Portsmouth at Lombard. It was good, but not as good as the carne asada AdRi's parents always bring us. They get theirs from the carneceria in Hillsboro, just across the Schute Park. I hear it's good sized, and the spices are really great. If I can get the name I'll shoot you an e mail!

Syd said...

I can make them, but not consistently. If you learn the secret, please pass it along. Although, I suspect it has more to do with touch, something that can't be shared through words.

As always, great pics. Adri's mother exudes grace and elegance. Not to mention, a million dollar smile.

MrBrownThumb said...

Hi lelo,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my gardening blog. I like the food photos you've posted even if they are making me want to do a midnight raid of the fridge. :)