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Tomatillo Salsa Revisited

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In the kitchen

The blog system was down yesterday so I didn't get a chance to do something new but with tomate verde showing up in the garden and the market, it's a good time to revist this salsa. These purple tomatillos are called Milpero and they've naturalized here in Napa. You may find them at your farmers market. - Steve

You could easily heat this salsa up and poach a nice fish or thin it out with a little wine or stock and cook a chicken breast.

Take these ingredients and place them on a medium high comal or skillet: 2 slices of red onion, 2 cloves of unpeeled garlic, 2 serrano chiles and some tomatillos in their husks.

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Allow them to roast and get soft. The onions will start to caramelize. Flip the onions when they're done and move the other ingredients around to cook evenly.

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As the ingredients finish, place them in a bowl to cool down and to collect any juices that may run. The tomatillos will start to get soft and hiss as they finish.
As the vegetables cool, peel the tomatillo and garlic skins. You can pull off any excess skin from the chiles but don't waste a lot of energy on it.

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Chop the onions fine and set aside. You can grind the onions with the rest of the ingredients but I like to add them in the end for a more interesting texture. Chop the chiles and the halve the tomatillos.

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You can mix the salsa in a food processor but here I'm using my molcajete. Starting with just the garlic, chopped chiles and salt, grind the ingredients to a paste.

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Add the tomatillos and start grinding until they mixture is somewhat smooth. This is a real pleasure. Grinding in the molcajete feels great and provides a texture you just can't get from a food processor.

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When you get a texture you like, add the juice of a key lime (or small Persian lime). Add about a 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin. If you are like me, you will add more because more is better. Right? Wrong! It shouldn't taste like cumin in the final dish. Just this pinch adds a beautiful rich nuance and any more is too much. Try it my way and add more later if I am wrong. You can also add cilantro but I didn't feel like it so I didn't. Add the chopped onions and then mix well. You may need to add some salt. You are finished and I am hungry.

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