Friday, August 27, 2010

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

It's getting late in the last calendar month of summer, even some of the schools have already opened and sucked kids off the playgrounds and swings, out of pools and trees, ending their summer, which has been the 7th hottest in 140-something years of Chicago's weather history. I'm almost ready for fall and cool blanket-at-night type weather, but for now I'm good with the continued heat and bowls of summer tomatoes and the nearing end to the harvest of our CSA, which has been a thoroughly enjoyed experience this summer. There's so much tasty stuff at the farmer's market pick-up site too, local ma and pa enterprises with all sorts of goodies- from various dead animal and fish proteins to fresh-cut flowers, artisan breads, and of course gorgeous fruits and vegetables at every turn. And your requisite dogs, strollers, hippies and hipsters with their tattoos and fixies. All good in the hood.

By now you've eaten the wide range of summer salsas at parties- from the store bought, (the quality of which from Aldi's or gas station to Whole Paycheck), to the runny salsa at the mexican place having margaritas al fresco, to the freshly homemade and delicious tomato salsas. This recipe brings a different element versus the raw salsa, as roasting the tomatillos yields a sweet and savory combo, unique in what you've scarfed down so far this year.

You can add a few hot peppers to this without the end result being beyond your spice level, so throw some in if you got em. Some long ahaheim works great, with one jalapeno or two serranos as well. Fresh out of the garden or off the balcony/deck/rooftop preferred.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
about 4 C

1.5 lb tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, halved (little guys) or quartered
1 green bell pepper, rough chop
chili peppers- 1 jalapeno, 2 serrano, 1 anaheim, habanero if you so crasy, whatever you got/desire of heat level
1/2 yellow onion, large dice
3 cloves garlic, smashed and halved
1/2 ts cumin, optional
1/2 ts kosher
1/2 C cilantro leaves, somewhat packed
2 ts good balsamic vinegar

Fire up the hotbox to four honey. Place chopped tomatillo, pepper, garlic and onion on a sheet pan. Drizzle with oil, S&P, cumin if using, then mix well. Yes, get in there with your hands and touch your food. Roast for 12 minutes, then remove from oven a give it a nice stir up. Roast for another 7-12 minutes until lightly browned and smelling all delicious. Let cool for at least 10 minutes, up to a couple hours.

Add the veg to the bowl of your food pro with the metal blade, be sure to include all accumulated juices from the cool down. Add the balsamic vinegar and a touch more fresh S&P. Pulse until desired consistency, about 10 pulses, using a spatula to wipe down the bowl after the first few pulses. Taste and adjust with seasonings if necessary.

The tomatillos range in color, just as tomatoes can have-

I heart you summer. I thought it was just for your tomatoes, but now I'm seeing tomatillos.

I did have a camera shot of the roasted tomatillos, but somehow the files became corrupt. Unlike Blagojevich. Damn stubborn old lady couldn't swing the vote. Oh well. Who's next up for Governor of Illinois, or locally known as 2-1 odds to go to jail?

This is fantastic just with some tortilla chips, then progress into some *grilled texicken fajitas, or perhaps atop your favorite **breakfast scramble?

*chicken breasts rubbed with what is pretty much Emeril's essence, with a few ts more ground black tellicherry peppercorns. The paprika in the premixed essence is a mix of hot and sweet smoked. Enjoy with warm fajitas- grilled peppers and onions, sour cream and freshly grated cheddar or jack cheese, hot sauce optional.

**chorizo, new red potato hash, onion, peppers, cheese, fresh jalapeno

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