Last week was spent in the madness that is SXSW, where each night my co-workers and I skirted the insanity of 6th Street with eating and margarita binges at a handful of the city's endless budget-friendly Mexican joints. Upon departure, I thought I had enough chips, salsa, and tacos to last a lifetime, but just a day back in New York, I found myself longing for what once was, and required an immediate salsa intake.
The fact that no two salsas were alike was part of the greatness of our Austin adventure—while I feel we must have explored the entire gamut from spicy to mild, green to red, and roasted to fresh, I know I'm very wrong. One in particular that grabbed my attention was an incredibly simple salsa verde, whose uncomplicated flavors were mainly fruity chilies mixed with a little sour cream that smoothed, but didn't really temper, the immense heat of the peppers.
To make some facsimile of this at home, I started with a standard base ingredients for a green salsa, but put emphasis on the chiles—1 large poblano and 2 serranos to 1 tomatillo, a few sprigs of cilantro, and a clove of garlic. To achieve the fresh flavor, I opted not to roast any of the ingredients, but instead boiled them in a small amount of water. Once softened, I gave the mixture a spin the blender until completely smooth, then stirred in sour cream, lime juice, and salt to finish it off.
I ended up hitting all the notes I wanted to, while creating a salsa that took a turn from the original inspiration. It had the desired fresh chile flavor, but paired it with a hefty tang from the sour cream, lime, and tomatillo. Most importantly though, what started off nice and cool, ended with an excellent heat that was enough to make it "hot," but not so much it wasn't a pleasure to eat chip after chip.
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About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.