Some foods have the magic of reviving memories. A taste of that particular dish, and you are reminded of a specific time, place, person, or season in your life. This salsa takes me to the Mexican State of Hidalgo, on a cold morning when we were traveling from Mexico City on our way to Tampico. We had just passed by the Teotihuacan Pyramids and were entering Hidalgo when we saw a small road-side stand selling Lamb Barbacoa, and decided to stop by to have some breakfast. An old couple was just setting up all their cooking tools to start the day. While we waited for our food, I asked the old woman about the green salsa in the molcajete. “It’s Salsa Cruda with Xoconostle”, she said, pointing to the large cactus patch to the right of the road. Xoconostle is very similar to the “prickly pear” cactus, but, unfortunately, is not easy to find here in the US. Even though it doesn’t have Xoconostle, every time I make this salsa, it reminds me of that old lady selling lamb barbacoa on the road side that cold morning, and how before we finished our breakfast, she gave me a large parcel wrapped with newspaper. When I opened, it had a Xoconostle plant. “Now, you can have your own Xoconostles”, she said.
This salsa pairs well with carnitas, lamb barbacoa, and carne asada.
MAKES 1 1/4 CUP OF SALSA
- 10 oz Tomatillos or Miltomates, chopped. (about 5 medium size tomatillos) husks remove and previously washed
- 3 Tbps. White Onion, chopped
- 2 Serrano Pepper, chopped*
- 1 Small Garlic clove, peeled
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
- Salt to taste.
- For this salsa I used miltomates, which are smaller than tomatillos, and have lots of seeds. You can use either one to make the salsa.
- *Use Serrano or Japaleno peppers, adjust the amount as you like. It can be mild, medium or hot. It keeps well for 3 days in the refrigerator.
1. Put tomatillos, onion, garlic, serrano pepper, and cilantro in a blender (or food processor). Process until it forms a chunky salsa. This salsa is very thick, with the texture of a relish. Do not add water. Season with salt and serve.
Sometimes when I’m in a hurry and in the mood for tacos I just cook some ground beef, fix this quick salsa, and voila! Taco Night is ready!!.
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