Do you have fresh tomatillos? Access to a broiler? A couple of heads of garlic, some various peppers, onion-ish bulbs and maybe 20-25 minutes? Then you’re well on your way to Salsa Town, and that’s about all the direction we can give you.
We’ve been making this salsa base for many years now, freezing it in one-cup batches for the occasional taco night or a try at chilaquiles—adding salt, cilantro and lime after defrosting since we found their tastes disappear once frozen. We must have begun with some sort of recipe, but now all we care about is getting a good char on the ingredients, which is where the broiler comes in. We spread whole tomatillos, peppers and onions on a foil-lined baking sheet, then stick it under the heat, turning the vegetables until they’re blackened all over and the tomatillos have collapsed into oozing, charred husks. The only thing to watch out for is the garlic, which becomes bitter when blackened. Steve finds that tucking the cloves under pepper and onion pieces keeps them from burning.
It generally takes only about 15-20 minutes to blacken a whole bunch of tomatillos and stuff (on a recent batch Steve deployed a couple of red and green tomatoes along with the very last cayenne and banana peppers from this year’s garden). When it’s good and roasty, take the pan out and let everything cool down. Purée in the blender and your base is ready to be salted, cilantro-ed and limed—or frozen if you’re like Gourmandistan and want to wait on your next fiesta.