Monday, August 18, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green


This green sauce, or Salsa Verde, which just means "Green Sauce" in Spanish, never lasts long in our house. It's really easy to make, tastes incredibly fresh, and we use it warm to top fried eggs, cold as a dip for corn or tortilla chips, and hot as a sauce for meat. I like mine really hot (spicy) but I've toned down the peppers in the recipe for you. Add more if you like it spicier, too. I think this tastes incredibly like the Herdez brand of salsa verde, but making it at home is far less expensive.

Here's a picture of a juicy pork tenderloin that was actually braised in the sauce, then sliced and slathered with it. Serve this with rice and homemade corn tortillas. Mmmmmm...

A word about tomatillas and napolitos: tomatillas are available fresh just about everywhere now, and they look like little green tomatoes in a papery husk. Peel that off and the skin should be a bit sticky and the berry plump and bright green. You don't have to core these, just rinse them well under running water. Napolitos are the leaves of a variety of the prickly pear cactus. There are acres and acres of them in Mexico, and compounds in them are believed to contribute to good health, including preventing bladder cancers. You can find them fresh in many stores here, but most of us are a bit wary of the thorns, so for this recipe I just used the jarred variety, which you can find in the Latin section of most grocery stores. When jarred they are very salty, so be sure to rinse the strips thoroughly in a colander under running water to remove much of the sodium.

Now, here's the recipe for my

Tomatilla y Napolito Salsa

1 1/2 lbs. tomatillas, husks removed, rinsed, and cut into quarters
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and cut in half (remove seeds if you want no heat in this sauce)
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
Handful fresh cilantro (just tear off a handful and some stems are ok..they have lots of flavor)
1 tsp. instant chicken boullion (I use Caldo de Pollo, also found on the Latin foods aisle. It's like boullion only in powder form with dried parsley in it and is a staple in most Mexican kitchens.)
1 1/2 cup water
1 (30 oz.) jar napolitos (optional; we like this with or without)
Juice of 2 limes

Place all ingredients except napolitos and lime juice in a 3 quart saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until onions are tender. Allow to cool. Pour into food processor or blender, add rinsed and drained napolitos (if using) and whir until vegetables are pureed. Stir in lime juice and enjoy!

Bon App├ętit!
Chef Debbie

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