Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

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A study of tomatillos

There is no Chili Verde without tomatillos; those odd tomato-like fruits in papery husks, tangy, citrusy, and sticky.


There is no turkey dinner that didn’t result in the required leftover turkey enchilada casserole. Perfected forty years ago in the square Corningware baker (that Autumn pattern) that fit the combination of tender meat, flour tortillas layered with cheeses, onions, and olives; soaked in green sauce as it comes bubbling out of the oven. Dad’s creation, made without written reference but a visual memory when the tile behind the stove was green and the walls papered with bright orange, yellow, and green flowers.

Green and Purple Tomatillos

There is no lunch date at that Mexican restaurant if the chili verde plate is not placed before her; her mind made up without thinking, automatically, on autopilot, and a comfort without knowing why. It just is.

Cup of Tomatillos

The pantry is not properly stocked if the shelves are missing Las Palmas Green Enchilada sauce, diced Ortega, tomatillos, beans, and rice. Just in case.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Hatch Chilies
Mellow with roasting this salsa is great as a dip or condiment for flavoring stews, or meats.
Recipe type: Salsa, Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
  • 5 oz. Tomatillos
  • 6 medium sized roasted Garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Hatch Chilies (or your favorite green chili pepper)
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • ½ cup Water
  • ⅛th teaspoon ground Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Pinch ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 cup chopped White Onion
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped Cilantro
  1. Peel and rinse tomatillos, removing papery husk. Place on a rimmed baking sheet with the peppers and broil for about 5 minutes. Place the garlic cloves in a foil packet with a teaspoon of olive oil, seal and place on the baking sheet with the other ingredients. Watch carefully to not let them burn. Then flip them over and continue roasting for another 4 minutes. The tomatillos will change to an olive color and get soft and slightly charred, cool. Retain all the juices. Next juice the lime and wash and chop the onion and cilantro.
  1. Place the tomatillos and garlic in a blender ensuring to include all the juices from the baking sheet.
  2. Rough chop the peppers and add them to the tomatillos along with the lime juice, salt and peppers.
  3. Use a low/slow pulse to obtain a rough coarse texture, do not over puree.
  4. Add the onion and cilantro, slowly add the water as you pulse 3-4 times just to blend and check consistency.
  5. Taste and adjust for additional salt and pepper.
  6. Pour into a bowl and enjoy!
Cook’s Tips
Inspired and adapted from Rick Bayless’ Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
You can adjust the hotness by using different peppers you decide to use in this recipe, the choice is yours and your personal heat index.

Green. Verde. Bright and cool with just enough spice. Fresh with cilantro and lime juice. Inspired, adapted, and adjusted for personal taste with your choice of Jalepeño, Hatch, Serrano, or Fresno peppers.

Plate of Tomatillos

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4 Responses to Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

  1. nancy baggett says:

    A very tempting post. I like and use tomatillos, but am wondering if green tomatoes can be substituted, as they are easier for me to obtain and cheaper. Have you any info/suggestions on this, Robin?

    • Robin E. H. Ove says:

      Hi Nancy,
      What a great question! I have never tried using green tomatoes as a substitute. The taste and textures are really different. Might be interesting to try though! That’s how new recipes get created all the time. When I can’t have fresh tomatillos (they are usually available at my local markets.. thanks to living in California) I have used Embasa brand of canned.

  2. valentina says:

    Don’t they look great in the paper like ‘case’? Reminded me of physilis. I have most definitely never come across these – shame! Need to make a mental note to keep looking out for them.

    • Robin E. H. Ove says:

      Hi Valentina!
      I do wonder where you might get them in London. Is there such a thing a as Latin Market? These also come canned which might be easier to obtain. So pretty (but a little sticky) fresh!

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