For Salsa Snobs: My Red for Your Green…

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WhateverYouWant

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TL;DR… Looking for your best Salsa Verde methods.

I love salsa… on chips, tortillas, tacos, tostadas as a braise for various proteins, and more. I will include my go to method below as a reference to what I find ideal in a tomato salsa.

But I have never made Salsa Verde. I used to have a neighbor who's wife canned it regularly, and it was really good. I am not looking to can, just want a great fresh one. I have scoured the internet and have yet to find one that sounds right. Some say fry the veggies, others say broil, and still others say char. A number of them don't have cilantro (??), and some don't have lime juice(????). Some say serrano peppers, others say poblano, and others jalapeno. Many of them came out looking more like salad dressing than salsa, so I gave up.


Scott's Favorite Red Salsa
2 Tomatoes
1 Jalapeno
1 small handful Cilantro
1 to 2 garlic cloves (depending on size)
1/4 to 1/2 white onion (depending on size)
1/4 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
juice of 1/2 to one whole Lime (depending on size)
large pinch of kosher Salt
large pinch of freshly ground black Pepper
Tomato Paste (to taste)
Agave Syrup (to taste)

1.) Cut up the tomatoes for a fine dice in the food processor, and if you find your tomatoes have a lot of seedy liquid or white flesh, you'll want to remove about half of it from each tomato. Pulse in the processor until you get a fine consistent dice. The mixture should be red and not pink. Add to a mixing bowl.

2.) Add garlic and seeded, ribbed jalapeno to processor and pulse to mince.

3.) Cutup onion to get a consistent fine dice in the processor, add cilantro and process. Add to the mixing bowl.

4.) Add cumin, chili powder and lime juice to the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Now I use a small bowl with the paddle on my stand mixer to do this, which I know seems like overkill, but I got it sitting on the counter anyway, and it does a really great job evening out the tomato flesh and creating consistent flavor/texture, which makes the next optional (but usually not for me) step ideal. If you don't have one just use a large bowl and whisk.

5.) If your using supermarket tomatoes, and they are typically not that sweet or flavorful, you'll want to doctor this with same tomato paste (I use a tube af Cento Double Concentrated), and some Agave Nectar (yeah you could use sugar, but the agave is much more stable). Start with a tablespoon or so of the tomato paste, and a light drizzle of the agave. This usually nails it, but mix it well again and taste. If it is close, don't add any more as these flavors will intensify during refrigeration.

6.) Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
 
There are so many options because people have different tastes and preferences. I was surprised to read in a Rick Bayless cookbook that there are several styles of salsa used for different purposes and in different places.

I like to use this recipe from Rick Bayless. I do add lime juice to taste.

https://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/roasted-tomatillo-salsa/

I've said this before but I don't usually Google randomly for recipes. I have several favorite sites that I trust to be reliable. Rick is one of my go-tos for Mexican recipes; seriouseats.com is another.
 
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My choice as a base for green Mexican style is tomatillos.
 
I have many tomatillo salsa recipes, as well as other recipes using tomatillos, most of my favorites being from Rick Bayless's books. Here's a favorite one of mine, also on his website. I always make it with dried moritas, but they are also delicious with the pasillas de Oaxaca.
https://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/oaxacan-pasilla-tomatillo-salsa/

One thing about tomatillos - you can make a delicious salsa cruda with them (i.e. uncooked), but you'll want to serve it soon. They sort of sour, after several hours, or if refrigerated overnight.
 
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I like to use this recipe from Rick Bayless. I do add lime juice to taste.

Thanks. My biggest problems with this method are that 1.) no lime juice (I know I can add it, but if it is not foundational to the recipe I think it's a fail), and 2.) his web site recipe is profoundly different than the video (1/4 cup water in the blender vs: rinsing diced onions after doing it all in the FP - can't imagine either of those is a good thing).
 
Thanks. My biggest problems with this method are that 1.) no lime juice (I know I can add it, but if it is not foundational to the recipe I think it's a fail), and 2.) his web site recipe is profoundly different than the video (1/4 cup water in the blender vs: rinsing diced onions after doing it all in the FP - can't imagine either of those is a good thing).
Why is it a fail without lime juice, or cilantro? Limes and cilantro are not indigenous to North America, so they weren't in authentic, pre-Columbian Mexican food.

The website recipe is from his book "Mexican Everyday."

What exactly are you looking for? Maybe you should try making your own with the ingredients you want.
 
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Why is it a fail without lime juice, or cilantro? Limes and cilantro are not indigenous to North America, so they weren't in authentic, pre-Columbian Mexican food.

The website recipe is from his book "Mexican Everyday."

What exactly are you looking for? Maybe you should try making your own with the ingredients you want.

I have no idea if I am looking for pre-Columbian Mexican food. The salsa verde I remember was both laden with lime and cilantro, and chunky like most salsas. I know tomatillo needs to be cooked. And maybe the chile and garlic as well, and if so… onion seems to offer up a lot of flavor when cooked too.

Many of the methods I have found so far offer several of these, but not all, and include things (i.e.water) that do not belong. So I am simply looking for someone who has nailed it.
 
I have no idea if I am looking for pre-Columbian Mexican food. The salsa verde I remember was both laden with lime and cilantro, and chunky like most salsas. I know tomatillo needs to be cooked. And maybe the chile and garlic as well, and if so… onion seems to offer up a lot of flavor when cooked too.

Many of the methods I have found so far offer several of these, but not all, and include things (i.e.water) that do not belong. So I am simply looking for someone who has nailed it.
None of these ingredients *have* to be cooked. Cooking onion and garlic softens them and brings out their sugars. I have grown tomatillos for years and have made both cooked and raw salsas, as well as a tomatillo-avocado relish, from them. I could offer a dozen recipes but I can't guarantee that any of them are exactly what your neighbor made.
 
Starting from scratch by roasting the green chiles is a good method. I roast both Anaheims and poblanos. Peeling and seeding is tedious, but it makes you value the end product.



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The flesh can be finely chopped or hit with an immersion blender. I add chopped garlic, onion, cilantro, salt, black pepper, and perhaps some tomatillo. Chck the flavor before adding vinegar, as green chiles and tomatillos can be fairly acid. If it turns out mild, I might chop some serrano or jalapeño peppers to give it a bite.
 
This is may dad's Tomatillo Salsa Recipe.
Not sure where he got it from.
Ive made changes which I'll make note of.
Its definitely thick and chunky.
Definitely has Cilantro ( But no lime. To me the tomatillos add enough of that tanginess to it, but lime could definitely be added. the recipe is an open slate o be molded to your preference ).

15 Tomatillos ( Golf ball sized or a little larger) Large dice.
2 Small Onions Diced
7Oz Can of roasted peppers diced ( I personally roast my own peppers and dont really
measure it out . Usually a thick skinned green pepper on he grill, char and remove skin)
1 3/4 Cup of Chicken Stock ( I used Fake chicken bullion powder since Im vegetarian)
1 + Garlic clove roughly chopped ( I used 4 -6 cloves)
2 Tbs of flour
3 Tbs of oil
2 Tbs of Green Hot sauce ( see pic of what I use. Put as much/ little as you want. This is where the heat comes from. Don't add if you don want to, wont change the taste, just the heat).
Handful of Cilantro chopped .

Every thing above can be altered ( Obviously). Tomatillos and onions come various sizes so may need to add or subtract depending on size available. Can dice bigger or smaller depending on the chunk you're looking for. Canned vs homemade roasted peppers. As much garlic as you like. Hot sauce to your desired heat preference. Cilantro if you like or do not like , your choice. And lime... why not !!

- Sautee Onions, garlic, Peppers and Tomatillos in oil. ( add more oil if needed). Sauteeing just to sweat, bot to brown. I sometimes add a little salt to help the process. If roasting your own peppers, roast , peel and chop first before this step.

- Sprinkle in the flour. Make sure it completely dissolves or you'l have lumps. This is primarily for thickening. I sometimes mix the flour with a little oil then add two avoid clumping.

- Once flour dissolved, add stock gradually. The salsa will thicken up. Stop adding when get desired thickens. Add more if need to thin out. ( will thicken more as it simmers then cools).

- Simmer for about 1/2 hour. Watch to make sure not thickening too much or sticking. Stir occasionally, making sure no sticking to bottom of pot.

- Add the green hot sauce to desired heat.

- Take off the heat, stir in handful of chopped cilantro and let cool to room temperature.
 

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Does anyone have a recipe for a salsa with no tomatoes or tomatillos and where the cilantro is cooked, if there is any?
 
TL, There are many pineapple salsas out there, with similar ingredients, though I'm not sure how many have cooked cilantro. Here's a tip, however, if you have access to Asian markets (also found in some Hispanic markets) - if you substitute culantro for cilantro, in a recipe in which it is cooked, much of the cilantro flavor will remain; more so than cooking true cilantro.
 
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Chief's Salsa Verde

Not as hot as my Raging Bull Salsa, but has great flavor, and a little heat.


Ingredients:
10 tomatillos. peeled and diced
2 green tomatoes, diced
4 dried Tabasco peppers
2 green Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced
1 yellow banana pepper, or Anaheim pepper
1 green sweet bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 yellow sweet bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 tbs. chili powder
juice, and zest of 1 line
1/2 tsp, ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp. Jamaican Hellfire Sauce, gree1/2 yellow onion, minced
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and pressed
1 pencil thick bunch of cilantro, with laves, mined

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for twenty minutes. Uncover, and reduce liquid to desired thickness. Store in canning jar, or container with airtight lid, in the fridge.

The green tomato adds depth, and acidity to the Salsa Verde If you don't want too use lime, add another green tomato.

Hope you try it. Hope you like it.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 
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TL, There are many pineapple salsas out there, with similar ingredients, though I'm not sure how many have cooked cilantro. Here's a tip, however, if you have access to Asian markets (also found in some Hispanic markets) - if you substitute culantro for cilantro, in a recipe in which it is cooked, much of the cilantro flavor will remain; more so than cooking true cilantro.

Good idea. I didn't mean that they have to have cooked cilantro. I meant that if there is any cilantro, it should be cooked. I hate raw cilantro. I don't mind cooked cilantro. I'm not sure I want more of the cilantro flavour to remain.
 
Does anyone have a recipe for a salsa with no tomatoes or tomatillos and where the cilantro is cooked, if there is any?

Its not salsa, and it's not Mexican. There is a roasted red pepper that is much like salsa, but without the tomato, or cilantro. It is really good. Here's the basic ingredient list. And Taxi, you are an accomplished cook and so I'm not including cooking instructions. Also, you can add other herbs as you like, to tweak the recipe to your tastes.

2 red bell peppers
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium shallots (finely chopped)
4 cloves garlic* (pressed)
1/e tsp,Kosher salt
1.2btsp. ground black pepper (to taste)
1 1/2 cups half 'n half
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1 1/2 Tbs. cornstarch or arrowroot powder (or other thickener of choice)
1 pinch red pepper flake (optional )

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the north
 
Good idea. I didn't mean that they have to have cooked cilantro. I meant that if there is any cilantro, it should be cooked. I hate raw cilantro. I don't mind cooked cilantro. I'm not sure I want more of the cilantro flavour to remain.
OK...I thought it was one of those weird things that bothered you raw, but not cooked, but in another way. Since the culantro keeps that flavor, you definitely wouldn't want it!
 
I lived in Albuquerque, NM for a couple of years and their green salsa is hotter than their red salsas, mainly because they love their home grown Hatch chiles. They are only available fresh picked from the beginning of August and through the end of September, though the season can sometimes extend from mid July to mid October, depending on the weather. The rest of the year you use the ones you had enough foresight to freeze during the season, or you buy them in a can. The recipe is below, or I have a video if you want to watch me make the salsa.

Hatch Chile Salsa​
Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbs light olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
Instructions:

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and Hatch chiles and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 to 45 seconds more, just until fragrant.

Add the cornstarch to the broth, whisking constantly so that is stays smooth, and add the broth to the onion and chiles. Add the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. When the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat to low and simmer to thicken, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be thickened just enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add more broth to thin it out if it is too thick. Sample the salsa and adjust seasonings to taste.

Watch Me Make My Salsas.
 
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I hate raw cilantro. I don't mind cooked cilantro.


Never knew cilantro (the leafy green stuff) could be cooked. How? Boiled? Sauteed?

Anyhow, you might try toasted coriander seeds (the end product of the cilantro plant) which can be cracked or ground. People who dislike the leafy herb find coriander seeds acceptable.
 

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