Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

Ahh, Cinco de Mayo – pretty much my favorite holiday next to Christmas. Where I can drink as many margaritas and eat as much guacamole as I want, and not be chastised for it. It’s funny actually, because a little over 5 years ago I wouldn’t have touched Mexican food with a 10 foot-pole. Can  you believe that? Thank goodness I came around, and things like tomatillos and cilantro are on my shopping list every week. In fact, I’ve started visiting my local Latin produce guy at the flea market every week – just because his produce is superior, and a much better bargain than at Mega Mart. I get all my Mexican staples there – dried beans, limes, corn husks for tamales, poblanos and jalapenos. Heh, it never ceases to amaze me where these roads in my kitchen are leading me everyday!

So, in case you were wondering – like I was 5 years ago – what in the Hell is a tomatillo? And, what do I do with it? I’m here to help! While they look similar to green tomatoes – they’re actually closely related to gooseberries. They have a papery husk on them that must be removed before cooking. They have a bright flavor, with a natural smokiness. When roasted, that flavor is amplified. And when combined with other flavors – like roasted garlic and jalapeno, it’s just out of this world.

I like to serve this salsa whenever I make carnitas, as I think the brightness plays off wonderfully against the richness of the pork. But, it’s good with all kinds of traditional Mexican dishes! And, a change of pace from the traditional red salsa that we all know and love. So step outside of your comfort zone, and try something new for this Cinco de Mayo!