Archive for June 27th, 2012

Here’s your basic salsa verde made with tomatillos, those wonderfully tart fruiting vegetables that resemble a small yellow-green tomato covered with a thin, papery husk. Be sure to remove the husks before grilling the tomatillos. The charred bits of tomatillo skin and jalapeno give this relish a well-rounded rustic flavor. Serve it as a chip dip or with grilled beef, lamb, pork, poultry, or fish.

TIMING
Prep: 10 minutes
Grill: 5 to 10 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– 5 or 6 skewers (optional)
– Long-handled tongs
– Long-handled spatula.

GETTING CREATIVE
– For Grilled Tomato Salsa, replace the tomatillos with 4 medium beefsteak tomatoes. Halve the tomatoes crosswise and dig out the seeds and pulp with your fingertips over a bowl. Grill as directed. Finely chop all of the vegetables by hand and combine with the remaining ingredients in a bowl, along with any accumulated juices. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons lime juice.
– Replace the jalapeños with 4 serrano chiles or 2 small canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. If using canned chipotle chiles, skip the grilling step and put the chipotles into the food processor along with the other grilled vegetables.
– For a thinner sauce to serve over grilled fish or pork, stir in a few tablespoons of water along with the cilantro.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (400° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Charcoal:
Direct heat, medium ash
10-by-10-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, light ash
10-by-10-inch bed, 1 inch deep
Clean, oiled grate set 3 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS)
Oil for coating grill grate
1 pound tomatillos (10 to 12 medium), husked and rinsed
1 onion, peeled and cut crosswise into 4 thick slices
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 small jalapeño chiles
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon sugar.

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Grill the tomatillos, onion slices, garlic, and chiles directly on the grill grate until blistered and blackened all over, turning occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes total. Use a spatula and tongs to turn the onion slices to keep them from falling apart. Or you could skewer the slices through the side to hold them together. If the bars of your grill grate are far apart, skewer the garlic and jalapeños to keep them from falling into the fire.
3. Let the vegetables cool slightly, then peel the garlic and remove the stems from the chiles. For a mild salsa, cut the chiles in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and ribs with a spoon or knife. For a hotter salsa, leave the stemmed chiles intact.
4. Transfer all of the vegetables to a food processor with any accumulated juices. Pulse until a chunky puree forms. Pour into a bowl and stir in the cilantro, salt, and sugar.

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