It was a proud day when I found out that salsa didn't have to involve fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, and lime. Though these preparations are unbelievably tasty, they take a long time. Between soaking the red chilies, deseeding them, and blending all the ingredients up, you can spend an hour or more on preparation. Plus you have to let the thing cool down. I needed something that was better suited to a weeknight, and it came to me while I was at Rick Bayless's Frontera Grill in Chicago.
It was the best salsa I'd ever had so I immediately went home and pulled out my copy of Authentic Mexican, in search of the recipe. Though it's not exactly what I had at the restaurant, it's close. Instead of limes, the tomatillos provide the acidic kick. Slightly blackened on the skillet, they get a roasted, smoky quality. But the real underrated player here is the garlic, which is roasted on a skillet until soft and deliciously sweet. At the restaurant, I thought the salsa had some kind of sugar to achieve that balance, but it was all the garlic.
Plus this recipe is so easy: there are only four ingredients and you don't even need to break out a knife. It's all pureed in a blender.
Chipotle and Tomatillo Salsa
- 3 medium tomatillos, husked and washed
- 2 large cloves, unpeeled
- 3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo
Lay a sheet of foil on half of an iron skillet set over medium heat. Add the tomatillos and cook for about 10 minutes, turning them often until soft, blackening on a few sides.
On the uncovered half of the skillet, add the garlic cloves. Cook for 15 minutes, turning often until they are very soft and slightly blackened.