Raw Tomatillo and Chipotle Salsa Verde 2.500

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Aug 5, 2009

Patricia Jinich tried this salsa in the small town of Valle de Bravo. It is among the few salsas she knows of that use raw instead of cooked tomatillos. The combination of tomatillo, cilantro and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce is fresh, deliciously tart and spicy enough to have a nice kick.

Ninfa Sanchez, the cook who showed her how to make it, adds whole chipotles to the mix. Because the heat always can be bumped up (but not removed), it is a good idea to start with only the sauce and then add half a chili pepper at a time until you get the level of spiciness you want. Jinich adds the cheese and chunks of avocado to make it heartier.

This salsa is great with quesadillas (corn or wheat tortillas with melted cheese in between), tacos or sopes (fried corn-flour cakes), and as a side to eggs and bacon in the morning or grilled or roasted chicken or fish and/or beans. It can also be scooped up with tortilla chips or pieces of thin toast as an appetizer.

Make Ahead: The salsa base can be prepared and refrigerated a day in advance. The salsa can be assembled with optional ingredients several hours in advance.

Servings: 2.5 cups
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into quarters
  • 1 medium clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped white onion
  • Leaves and thin stems from 4 or 5 stems cilantro, coarsely chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons sauce from canned chipotle peppers en adobo, plus 1 canned chipotle pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher, coarse or sea salt, or more to taste
  • Flesh from 1 large or 2 small avocados, cut into large dice (optional)
  • 8 ounces queso fresco, cotija or farmers cheese, crumbled or cut into large dice (optional)


Combine the tomatillo quarters, garlic, onion, cilantro, sauce from the canned chipotle chili peppers, the canned chipotle chili pepper, if desired, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth, then transfer to a 2-cup container with a tight-fitting lid.

At this point, the salsa can be covered and refrigerated for a day.

When ready to serve, transfer to a serving bowl; add the avocado and cheese, if desired. Toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust salt as needed.

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Recipe Source

From Patricia Jinich, chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute. Her Web site is www.patismexicantable.com.

Tested by Mike Cutler and Becky Krystal.

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