People take the first bite with their eyes with most things in life. So it is really important when I am entertaining that I have a variety of vibrant colours and textures on offer. That way my eyes are excited, my mouth starts to water, and snout starts to wiggle with excited anticipation. Couple that with a vibrant taste sensation that explodes in my mouth and I have a winning combination that keeps me snouting down without drawing for breath like a starved horse connected to a feed bag.
This was the case the other night when we had our “Vegetarian Mexican Taco Buffet Feast”. We had the deep rich roasted peppers and onions; and the vibrant sweet pico de gallo. Gretchen made her famous mouth watering guacamole that had us all ready to sign up for an intravenous connection just for convenience. But my “tart at heart” snout was singing out for something with a bit of heat.
Kris had bought some gorgeous fresh tomatillos from the local farmer’s market, and I remembered a phenomenal tomatillo sauce that lulled me into a pleasure induced coma when I worked at a Mexican restaurant as a college student in California. The pleasure of this salsa taste sensation was quickly eclipsed by the agony of the hungry hoards who greedily took advantage of the freebies, harping,“more chips and salsa” in a high-pitched tone of desperation. As they impatiently waited for their main meals I was making countless rounds back and forth to the chips and salsa trough. It was the bane of my existence! I left that job thinking that if I ever heard the phrase “more chips and salsa" again I would jam needles in my eyes.
Having said that, I learnt a lot about preparing fabulous fresh Mexican food while working at the restaurant; and if it weren’t for my aggravating chips and salsa loop, I would have appreciated more, why I was making so many rounds – because the fresh salsas were really amazing! Thank goodness I can forget the pain and remember the pleasure. This tomatillo salsa is simple and fresh, and absolutely bursting with just the right balance of tart and spicy that makes it hard to quit eating on a hot Summer’s night. The best thing about this recipe is that it takes five minutes to prepare. Just throw everything into the blender, pulse a few times, and devour. It doesn’t get any better than that.
For those of you not familiar with tomatillos, they are like little green tomatoes that come surrounded by a paper-like husk that is easily removed. If you find them difficult to remove, just rinse them under running water and they should slide right off. A good rinse will remove the stickiness on the skin too. You can find them in yellow and purple varieties. But it is the bright green kind that we are after for this tomatillo salsa.
The vibrant green contrasts a red salsa that is wonderful served side by side with this sauce. I like to add about 1 1/2 large jalapenos, which is the perfect amount of heat for me. I also remove the placental skin and seeds of the chilli. You might want more or less heat. The same is true for the cilantro, lime juice and garlic. Just blend and taste to reach your perfect blend. Kris, Gretchen and I were all desperately dipping our fingers into the blender in order to get this just right!
Add in a top-shelf margarita made with cointreau into the mix and we were all in heaven! Kent delivered in spectacular fashion! It was hilarious when he excitedly arrived with lime squeezer and shaker in hand like a professional bartender on a cocktail perfecting mission. When I gently offered to pull the blender out, he whipped around to me with a cliche camp move straight out of Priscilla Queen of The Dessert and humorously put me in my place by letting me know “Oh, honey, we don’t do that”! Kent, Thankyou! Your margaritas were nothing short of sensational.
Blend up this fresh tomatillo salsa and experience the magic. It is fantastic served with pico de gallo and corn chips, or slathered on fajitas, burritos, enchiladas or quesadillas.
“More Chips and Salsa PLEASE!"