Some Like it Hot – Roasted Tomatillo and Chili Salsa

Over the past year or so I’ve been experimenting with cooking techniques from Mexico and Central America.  My background is in traditional cooking methods from Europe, which means that chilies of any sort don’t play a large or even much of a supporting role in the food I first learned to love.  Truthfully, I’ve always been a little afraid of using chilies to any great extent in the food I create.  I love spicy, I just don’t love the blow-the-back-of-your-head-off feeling that comes from a haphazard and liberal use of spice.  I’ve also been careful to not inflict that sort of torment on the folks for whom I cook.  In the process of playing with ingredients from south of the border, what I found was a door into another world of flavor.

Tomatillos are similar to a green tomato, but with a lemony, less sharp taste.  They grow a papery skin on the outside and when you remove the skin feel a little sticky.  This just washes off with a little water.  I’ve given several different chilies just in case you can’t find the first one listed.

This salsa goes well with the Creamy Chicken, Spinach & Chipolte Tacos -recipe coming next Tuesday!

 Roasted Tomatillo and Chili Salsa

1 pound tomatillos, paper skin removed and washed
1 serrano, 1/2 habanero or 3 cayenne peppers, stemmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat broiler.  Place tomatillos and peppers on a baking sheet and place sheet under broiler.  Broil for about 5 minutes or until the tomatillos and chilis blacken on one side.  Turn with tongs and broil for another 4 minutes or until they blacken on the other side.  Transfer to a food processor with the onions and the garlic and pulse until coarsely pureed.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the oil and when the oil is hot, carefully add the pureed mixture.  Stir often until it begins to sear on the bottom of the pan.  Add the chicken broth and reduce.

Remove from heat and add the cilantro and salt.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups