Tomatillo Sauce

September 21, 2007 at 8:36 pm (Mexican & S. American, My brain, Sauce/dressing, unrated)


Making tomatillo sauce sounds so simple, I invariably forgo following a recipe and decide to just wing it—which is inevitably a disaster.  I don’t know why but my improvised tomatillo sauces are typically inedible.  Here’s what I did this week:

I roasted at a high temperature in the oven until the peppers were slightly blackened:

  • a little over a pound of fresh tomatillos, husks removed
  • 2 small red onions, halved
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 jalepeno, seeded
  • 1 poblano, seeded and halved

Then I removed the pepper skins and threw everything into the blender.  The resulting sauce tasted truly horrible.  It sounds like it should be fine, right?  A friend on hearing this tale said it probably just needed cilantro and lime, but I’m skeptical.   I didn’t want to add it because I was certain it was going to be a waste of perfectly good cilantro and lime. It really tasted awful.  I compared this recipe to a recipe in Rick Bayless’s cookbook, which called for roasting tomatillos.  The major difference I saw was that he didn’t roast the onions (and maybe the garlic?), but instead put them in raw.  That makes sense, as you want the onion to give a little bit of bite.  Next time I improvise this sauce, I will not roast any onions.  Repeat, I will not roast onions.

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2 Comments

  1. Tallulah said,

    When I made this kind of sauce I boiled the tomatillos down until they turned into sauce. I haven’t ever tried roasting them.

  2. sarah said,

    I make a chickpea chili with a base very similar to what you wrote above, roasting it all in the oven. But I add these two key ingredients: 2 teaspoons kosher salt and
    1/4 cup olive oil. Once it’s roasted for awhile and then mashed in a food processor, it’s a perfect base for soup of many kinds!

    enjoy!

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