Roasted tomatillos make a solid base for these two salsas. The first is the most common, and gets a fresh type of heat from raw serrano chilis. Roasted dry chilis give the second version an unusual smoky flavor. Make them both so everyone is happy.
What are tomatillos?
They are like tomatoes, only with a tangy kick. Then can be used raw, but searing mellows them out, and in our opinion, makes a superior salsa. They are encased in their husks, which must be removed prior to use.
Classic Salsa Verde
2 cloves garlic, whole
1-2 serrano chilis
1/3 cup cilantro
Cut the tomatillos in half. Place the tomatillos (cut side down) and the garlic cloves in a dry pan over medium-high heat. Sear for 4 minutes per side (or until browned). When cooled to room temperature, blend the tomatillos and garlic with the cilantro and chilis in a food processor until smooth. Add salt to taste.
Salsa Verde with Roasted-Dried Arbol Chilis
3 cloves garlic, whole
4-8 dried arbol chilis
Sear the tomatillos and garlic (see instructions above). Break each chili in half and dump out the seeds, saving the dried skins. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the chili skins in the oil for about a minute, or until darkened. Remove from the heat and let dry on a paper towel.
Blend the dried chilis with the tomatillos and garlic in a food processor. Add salt to taste.
We found both recipes in Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday cookbook!