A Tale of Two Salsas
by Jordan Franklin
August 27, 2020
Hey! Jordan here — pickle person who can be found at both the pickle stand and pickle factory. I’m from southern New Mexico, so I was so excited to play around with two of our new chile packs. (And, like any good New Mexican, I consider it sacrilege to spell “chili” with an “i.” At least the AP Stylebook finally agrees with me.) There’s almost nothing I love more than a good salsa, so I used our green chile pack to make a salsa verde and our red chile pack to make a salsa roja.
You can already get a bright, fresh salsa verde right here — so I wanted to make a traditional cooked salsa verde. The tartness of the tomatillos, bite of the onion and garlic, and heat of the chiles mellows out and comes together into a well balanced, complex salsa.
Heat level: medium-hot (maybe like our Kicky Kimchi!)
Makes: 3 to 4 cups
- 1 pound tomatillos
- 2 jalapeños
- 2 serranos
- 1 medium white onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 heaping cup cilantro, tender stems included
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (Morton's)
Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse well — they’re sticky! Cut stems off chiles. I like to leave the seeds in for extra heat, but you can remove them if you want it to be milder. Peel onion, remove root end, and cut in half. Peel garlic.
Add tomatillos, chiles, onion, and garlic to a medium-sized pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to medium-low heat and simmer until tomatillos and chiles go from bright green to deeper green and soften, about 20 minutes total.
Remove from heat and drain almost all of the water, leaving just a bit to help you blend. I like to use an immersion blender because it works well with hot foods and you can blend it right in the pot. If you use one, break up the onion pieces with a pair of tongs. Otherwise, pour everything into a blender or food processor (and if you’re using a regular blender, be sure to keep the lid off and cover with a towel to allow steam to escape).
Blend well at low speed to avoid incorporating too much air, which could make your salsa a bit foamy. Add cilantro and salt. Blend again.
Return to pot and bring to a boil again, uncovered so it can reduce a bit. Once boiling, turn down and let simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Take off heat and let cool. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to really let it meld.
- ½ large white onion
- 2 pounds red heirloom tomatoes
- 3 fresnos
- 2 espelettes
- 1 cayenne
- 5 garlic cloves
- ½ cup cilantro, tender stems included
- Juice of 1 ½ limes
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt (Morton's)
Peel onion and remove root end. Place tomatoes, onion, and chiles on a baking sheet (covered with foil if you want!) and broil on high heat until well charred. Flip them as the top side starts to char.
The chiles will char first. Take them out once they do, after about 10 minutes. The tomatoes and onion will char later, after about 20 minutes (I keep my rack a few notches down so they don’t char *too* fast. But every broiler is different!) You could also try charring them on a grill. Take out and let cool for a few minutes.
Cut stems off chiles. The espelettes are sweeter and fruitier, while the fresnos and cayennes can bring more heat. Remove the seeds if you want a milder salsa, but I like to leave them in. I don’t worry about the tomato cores. Cut onion into a few chunks if it helps you blend. Peel garlic.
Blend chiles, tomatoes, onion, and garlic until well blended, using low speed to avoid incorporating too much air, which, again, could make your salsa a bit foamy. If you’re using a regular blender or food processor, cool. If you’re using an immersion blender, like me, I like to put it all in a pot and crush the tomatoes with a potato masher or wooden spoon first.
Add cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Blend again.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour — I think the longer salsa sits, the better.
Enjoy! I hope you have fun playing around with an abundance of chiles, and try mixing it up. I don’t think anyone knows what the perfect chile combo really is. :)