This is a delicious salsa that is not too watery and not too saucy, so it's perfect for chips or use on Southwestern dishes. It is a medium hotness, though that may be a skewed view after my decade in the Southwest. It is by no means mild. The acidity and tartness brought on by the vinegar and juice is nicely balanced by the deep sweetness of the tomatillos. It starts out like a pico de gallo, but as you toss it with your hands it gains consistency.
Use caution if you decide to substitute chiles, as they are all very different. For example,
the habanero chile used in this recipe is approximately 40 times hotter than the standard Anaheim
jalapenos also used. Consult a Scoville chart to make sure you've got it right. Leaving in the
seeds can make this salsa inedible, as they contain a concentration of heat. Also, be careful
not to touch your face or eyes after touching the peppers, even after you wash your hands.
8 vine tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1/2 red onion
1/2 white onion
juice of 1 lime
2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded
2 serrano peppers, seeded
1 orange habanero pepper, seeded
1 green pepper
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp best-quality red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
1 tsp champagne vinegar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400. Bring two cups of water to a boil.
Remove the tomatillos from their shells, and place the shells onto the baking sheet. Place the tomatillos into their shells in order to prevent them from rolling around on the sheet. Drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil onto each. Grind pepper and add sea salt on top of them. Roast for 18-20 minutes.
While they roast, cut off the stem side of the tomatoes and blanch them for one minute each. The skins should easily pull off. Core and dice the tomatoes and the onions and add them to a large metal mixing bowl. Mince the hot peppers and the garlic and add to the mixture. Stir the mixture with one hand as you add each new ingredient. Add the spices, the vinegars, and 1 tbsp of the olive oil.
Remove the tomatillos from the oven. They may be slightly burned, which is fine. Remove the stem side of the tomatillos and cut them into a lather. They will gush when cut. Scoop all of this up with the side of your knife and add to the bowl. Mix with your hand. The salsa should have a medium thickness now, and cohere.
Can be served immediately or refrigerated in an airtight container for five days. It will get hotter over time.
Makes 4 cups.
An easy burrito meal: add 1 tbsp olive oil to a pan on medium heat, trim the fat from a chicken
breast and dice it. Cook it in the oil with salt and pepper, stirring with a wooden spoon so it doesn't stick. Grill a tortilla on both sides and add shaved gruyere cheese to the tortilla, which should melt slightly. Top with chicken and this salsa.