Paula: This salsa is worth building a fire for, but the preparation is also a great way to make the most of lingering heat after you’ve fired up dinner. Giving tomatillos, onions, chilies, and garlic a quick spin over the fire creates a tangy salsa verde with impressive depth and heat (for a milder salsa, remove the seeds before blending). Serve this salsa with breakfast tacos, alongside guac and queso, or thin it with chicken stock to make a sauce for enchiladas.
Smoky Salsa Verde
Makes about 3½ cups
2 pounds tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 medium white onion, quartered
2-3 serrano chiles (as desired for heat
2 unpeeled garlic cloves
About 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
Lime juice, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Prepare a grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire. Clean and oil the grill. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, place a perforated grilling pan on the cooking grates and allow it to heat for five minutes.
While the pan heats, combine the tomatillos, onion, chiles, and garlic cloves in a mixing bowl and drizzle with just enough olive oil to lightly coat. When the pan is ready, pour the veggies into the pan (they should immediately start sizzling) and use tongs to flip and move them around the heat as needed for even charring (and to prevent anything from burning. The tomatillos, onions, and chiles are done when they’re partially charred and softened; the garlic should be blackened on the outside and tender.
Transfer the ingredients to a mixing bowl. When they’re cool enough to handle, stem the chiles, lightly chop the onions, peel the garlic and place them in the blender. Add the tomatillos and any juices that have collected in the bowl, along with the fresh cilantro, lime juice, and a generous pinch of salt and blend until well combined. Taste and additional salt or lime as needed. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 4-5 days.
Note: For a creamier salsa, add a half an avocado to the blender.