Why It Works
- Boiling the chiles and tomatillo rather than roasting achieves a fresher flavor.
- Softened chiles and tomatillo blended until smooth are mixed with sour cream, lime juice, and salt for a nice cooling start and spicy finish.
In the madness that was SXSW, 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 chiles 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 the 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 in 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 was paired 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.
1 large poblano chile, seeded and roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 serrano chiles, roughly chopped (seeded for a hot salsa, not seeded for extra-hot)
1 large tomatillo, quartered
6 sprigs cilantro
1 medium clove garlic
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Kosher salt to taste
Place chopped chiles, tomatillo, cilantro, garlic, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until chiles and tomatillo are softened, about 10 minutes.
Transfer mixture to the jar of a blender and purée until completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl, stir in sour cream and lime juice. Season with salt to taste and serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to a week.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 2g||2%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||4%|
|Total Carbohydrate 2g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 10mg||50%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|