Tomatillo Salsa with Fired Serrano Chilies

Yet another variation on my fresh, traditional salsa verde. In this recipe, the serrano chilies are fire-roasted until charred. This method adds a subtle, complex flavor that is distinctively different. You may choose to fire the peppers on a grill, gas burner or with a propane torch.  Any of these methods work great.  There’s no need to peel them afterward — just stem them and pulse in your food processor until the desired consistency is achieved.  Note that a pinch of ground toasted whole cumin seed is also added.  The result?  Perfection.

In many traditional Mexican salsa recipes the tomatillos are simmered and then blended. Culturally, each has its place — and people seem to be vehemently polarized on their opinion of which they like better.

I love this version; it is very refreshing on a hot summer day.


12-16 fresh tomatillos, husked, washed and cored
6 large, fresh serrano chili peppers
1 medium onion, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed (try roasting it, as an option)
1/2 cup washed and trimmed cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp. ground cumin – toasted from seed
2 tsp. salt, to taste


Peel the tomatillos and ensure they are completely washed clean in cold water. Core and quarter them and place in a food processor. Blacken and stem the serranos. Add to the processor with the onion, mashed garlic cloves and cilantro. Pulse until finely-chopped, but not smooth. Add the salt and toasted ground cumin. Mix well and let stand for 1/2 hour before serving.

Serves 6-8
Heat Level: 7

Salsa Verde |Culinary Compost Recipes

Use a good-quality food processor when preparing salsa. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and produce more consistent results. Choose one with a large-capacity work bowl, strong motor and a pulse switch. Shown is a premium Breville® Sous Chef 12-cup food processor. The pulse feature allows you to quickly process ingredients with just a few pushes of the button. Note the consistency of the cut. The unit costs a lot more than your average processor, but you get what you pay for.


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