Tomatillo Salsa Verde for the #MuyBuenoCookbook Cook-Off

Tomatillo Salsa with Blue and Yellow Tortilla Chips

Most Tuesdays I choose a different friend to be my tutor for a day: I select one of their original recipes, I make the recipe following my friend's instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I scarf down as much as my belt-line will permit - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More

Just like last Tuesday, today I again have something special to share with you all: this post is part of the Muy Bueno Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef - I am joining 15 other talented bloggers in a special preview of the new Muy Bueno Cookbook and today I'm sharing another delicious and easy recipe from this cookbook.

The new Muy Bueno Cookbook spans 3 generations of women and their passion for food - lovingly told through stories, anecdotes and favorite recipes. The cookbook is infused with 3 different flairs of Latin and Mexican cuisine, all presented through gorgeous photos of treasured family recipes.

Each recipe in the Muy Bueno Cookbook cleverly uses a profile symbol to identify which generation of the family inspired the tasty recipe: 1st generation Old World Northern Mexican Cuisine, 2nd generation South of the Border Home-Style Dishes or 3rd generation Latin Fusion. The recipe I'm sharing today comes from this 3rd generation.

I'm especially excited to be sharing this recipe because it uses an ingredient I've been curious about for months - tomatillos. These green little fruits come wrapped in their own individual husks and to me taste like a cross between a green tomato and a green bell pepper - although their flavor is really unlike either. Tomatillos also contain a lot of natural pectin, so if you make this salsa in advance and store in your refrigerator, it will set up like a loose jelly.

As with every Tuesday post, I will provide step-by-step photos, my thoughts on each recipe, and any notable changes I made to the recipe.

I hope you're enjoying this series of posts for the Muy Bueno Cookbook Spotlight (there are more recipes on the way!) and if you're intrigued by today's salsa, be sure to check out the Muy Bueno Cookbook and blog for even more recipes, stories, and flavors.

How to Make: Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)
Original recipe courtesy of Muy Bueno Cookbook
Printable Recipe

Fresh Tomatillos
This salsa is really easy to make and it will take longer for me to describe it via photos than
it will take for you to make it. No joke. The most time-consuming part of this salsa is prepping
the tomatillos (which is easy, just takes time). So start with the tomatillos and then while they
are cooking and cooling, you can prepare all your other ingredients. When shopping for
tomatillos, look for ones that have started to burst their husks (or where the husks are easily
peeled back from the fruit). They should still be firm (a little firmer than a tomato). You will
need 8 tomatillos for this recipe. Also, now is the time to preheat your oven to 400F for roasting
the garlic a little later...

Husks Removed from Tomatillos
Peel off the husks from the tomatillos. They're a little sticky, huh?

Tomatillos in a Medium Pot with Water
Place the tomatillos in a medium sauce pan with enough water to cover them. They will float
to the surface, so you'll have to estimate or press down on one to check.

Pot with Tomatillos, Covered
Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the tomatillos for 15 minutes or
until the tomatillos have burst open... While the tomatillos come to a boil and cook, you'll
have plenty of time to prepare the other ingredients.

2 Unpeeled Cloves of Garlic
Place 2 cloves of garlic on a small ungreased baking sheet or dry oven-safe shallow baking
dish. I used my CorningWare Pyroceram Grab-it Plate for roasting my garlic cloves. Roast the
cloves of garlic in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, turning the cloves half-way through
the roasting time.

Roasted Garlic
The recipe says you should roast the garlic until the peel chars, however my garlic peels never
blackened or charred, but they were fully roasted after 15 minutes.

Peel Removed from Roasted Garlic
Remove the garlic peel from the cloves - this is how your roasted garlic should look.

2 Serrano Peppers
Next, prep your peppers. The recipe calls for 2 serrano peppers and 1 jalapeƱo pepper, with
seeds and white parts. If you're nervous about too much heat, you can always remove some or
all of the seeds and white parts from your peppers.

Jalapeno Pepper
Some jalapeƱos seem to be more spicy than others, so you may want to sample a small piece
of the green before deciding if you want to keep the white parts and seeds.

Diced Serrano and Jalapeno Peppers
Stem and roughly chop the peppers - there's no need to finely chop anything as you will be
throwing all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender at the end anyway...

1/4 of Yellow Onion
Next comes the onion - you will need 1/4 of a yellow onion.

Chopped Yellow Onion
Dice the onion - again, it can be rough

Boiled Tomatillos, Drained
By now your tomatillos should be finished. Drain and let cool.

Tomatillos Crushed in Food Processor
If you want to speed-up the cooling process for the tomatillos, you can add them to your food
processor or blender and pulse a couple times just to break them apart to let the steam inside
escape. After busting them open, they should be mostly cool within 10 minutes.

Handful of Cilantro
Once the tomatillos are cooled, you're ready to combine all the ingredients to make the salsa.
You will need a handful of cilantro to finish - if you're not a fan of the herb, use a small handful.

Herbs, Onion and Peppers added to Tomatillos in Food Processor
Add all your prepared ingredients to a blender or food processor fitted with the steel blade.

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt Added to Salsa Mix
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt - I used kosher salt

Chunky Salsa Ready to Serve
Pulse the ingredients a few times until you achieve a chunky yet homogenous salsa. I needed
to pulse my food processor about 6 times to achieve this consistency.

Tomatillo Salsa with Blue and Yellow Corn Chips Closeup 2
Serve immediately for best flavor. And if serving at a party where you're the busy host, you may
want to hold back a secret bowl for yourself. Because this salsa is addictive and your ravenous
guests may not think to save you anything but chips...

Thoughts while scarfing...
  • Boyfriend Javelin loves spicy salsas and dips (and pretty much anything else spicy), but I prefer more mild spice that doesn't overwhelm the sense or cause me to break out in a sweat. Yet on a recent trip to Abuelo's (yes, the Mexican-themed chain restaurant), Boyfriend Javelin raved over their salsa verde (despite it's utter lack of true spicy heat) and he insisted I find a way to replicate it at home. So when I saw this recipe in the Muy Bueno Cookbook... Yes. I really didn't have a choice. But the point I am trying to make in the most round-about way - this is not a spicy salsa thanks to the cooling effect of the tomatillos. Which means this is a salsa I will be making again and again.
  • The cookbook does not specify a roasting temperature for the garlic cloves (this may have been an oversight), so I roasted mine at 400F for about 15 minutes, turning the cloves half-way through the roasting process.
  • I suppose salsa is really more of an appetizer or snack, but Boyfriend Javelin and I really made a meal out of it - and it's hard not to! The salty chips with the almost-sweet yet mildly spiced salsa is addictive and you just keep reaching for another chip. Just one more. Just. One. More. JUST ONE MORE!
  • After the leftover salsa rested in the fridge overnight, it some of the mild spiciness and I felt lacked salt. It was also much thicker due to the natural pectin from the tomatillos. So if you decided to make this in advance, you may want to toss in an extra pepper and a pinch more salt.


  1. this is an interesting sauce. I love the bright green colour and I can only think this is going to taste great!!

  2. Love the top photo - great shot! And I love anything with a tomatillo in it - don't they have such a nice flavor? Very nice salsa. Suddenly I'm craving Mexican! Thanks for this.

  3. mjskit @mjskitchen.comSeptember 26, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    What a delicious salsa verde! Tomatillos make the best salsas and green chile sauces! Great tutorial!

  4. It really was delicious, Alida - I enjoy it most at room temperature and corn tortilla chips, but I suppose it could be used as a sauce...

  5. It's funny - I've always loved Mexican food, but I've never tried to make it. Now I'm hooked and I keep paging through the book and bookmarking new recipes to make. I foresee more Mexican cooking in my future ;) So glad you enjoyed, John, and I really did enjoy the tomatillos. Such an interesting fruit...

  6. Thanks for the kind words, MJ - and I'd never worked with tomatillos before, but ever since I saw you use them a while back, I knew I wanted to give them a go. And finally. FINALLY! :)

  7. Just look at that perfectly roasted garlic. It's been a long time since I've had salsa verde (I'm talkin' years) and your beautiful photos are making me crave it.

  8. This is the perfect base for a mild salsa and my family has used a similar recipe for years - I say similar mostly because we like to change it up with a new favorite pepper of the week or freshly opened home grown spicy pepper sauce or our new found favorite cheese or a newly found homemade chips.


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