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Salsa Verde Revisited

I looked back at my salsa verde post from last year and decided I could improve it. I tend to only make it once a year because that is when I get a big bunch of tomatillos in my CSA share. That doesn’t leave much room for rapid feedback loops, but let’s see what we can do.

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Last year’s version was all done on the stovetop. That is a fine method and gets the job done, but it relies heavily on the taste of the raw ingredients and doesn’t develop them very much. Surely we can do better.

If you don’t care about how something looks at the end, one of the best ways to develop a greater depth of flavor in veggies is to roast them. Salsa verde ends up getting pureed anyway, so the appearance of the tomatillos and peppers doesn’t matter.

I roasted this batch for an hour at 350F. Some of the juice from the tomatillos carmelized on the pan (which I scraped up, of course!) and both the tomatillos, onions, and peppers took on a sweeter, richer flavor. The garlic had the best transformation, though. Instead of the sharp, pungent flavor of raw garlic, roasted garlic has a gentle nutty caramel characteristic to it. There is nothing like it.

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I scraped all of this off the pan and then pureed it in the food processor with some fresh oregano out of one of the window pots.

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Last year’s recipe used fresh cilantro, but I didn’t have any on-hand and I didn’t want to go to the store on Labor Day. Oregano definitely doesn’t have the same flavor as cilantro, but it is delicious of its own accord. Cilantro isn’t essential to salsa verde and I think organo works well with onions, peppers, and lime juice, so I used it instead. I think it turned out wonderfully.

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