Here we have not one but two delicious salsa recipes adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen cookbook.
Both of these recipes require broiling tomatoes or tomatillos until the skins slip off and the flavors in the fruit are concentrated and infused with a wonderful smoky taste. The fresh onions in each recipe add a nice light flavor to contrast with the richness of the main ingredients.
If you're like me, you probably were a little reluctant to work with tomatillos the first time you ever saw them. Their pale green color and stange papery outer cover and sticky skins make them alien to most American cooks.
Well, get over it. Really, tomatillos are fun and add bright flavor to any dish. OK, maybe not every dish. I haven't tried tomatillo ice cream, but I bet it's coming up on Iron Chef this week.
Get some chips and some friends, make some guacamole and set out these two salsas to set off a feeding frenzy.
Roasted Red Tomato Salsa
1 pound tomatoes (I prefer plum tomatoes)
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet with sides or in a big oven-safe casserole pan along with the jalapenos. Wrap the garlic in a bit of aluminum foil and place in the pan.
Set the oven to broil and slide the pan under the broiler. after five minutes or so (the tomato skins should be a bit blackened), turn the peppers and tomatoes and broil the other side for five minutes.
Remove the tomatoes and the juices from the pan. Check on the garlic and the peppers. If the garlic is soft remove it. If not, put it back in the pan and continue roasting, checking it and turning the peppers every few minutes. Remove the peppers from the pan and set aside in a paper bag for a few minutes.
Peel the peppers, peel the tomatoes, and dice the flesh of each, placing the results in a blender or food processor. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin into the blender.
Pulse the blender if you can or blend very briefly multiple times to get a chunky blended consistency. You may have to work in batches.
Rinse the finely chopped onion and drain. This removes much of the acrid flavor from the onion, leaving only a fresh taste. Add the onion and cilantro to the blended tomatoes, mix well and salt to taste.
Refrigerate for an hour or more before serving. I'll post the green salsa recipe tomorrow.