Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Salsa Verde

Recipe from Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue!

Mexico’s ubiquitous “green salsa,” salsa verde is made with a ground cherrylike fruit called tomatillo that’s prized for its refreshing tartness (it’s available in most supermarkets). Tradition calls for the tomatillos to be roasted on a comal (flat skillet) or boiled, but you’ll get even more flavor if you grill them.


  • Yield: Makes about 2 cups
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  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos, papery husks removed
  • 2 to 4 jalapeño or serrano peppers, or 1 poblano pepper
  • 1/2 medium-size onion, cut in half, each half skewered on a wooden toothpick
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and skewered on a wooden toothpick
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons lard or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar, or more to taste
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

Step 1: Set up the grill for two-zone grilling. Preheat one zone to high and one zone to medium.

Step 2: When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the tomatillos and peppers on the hot grate and grill them until darkly browned, even black- ened, and blistered on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Place the onion on the grate and grill it until darkly browned and tender, about 3 minutes per side. Position the garlic over the cooler zone of the grill so it browns without burning, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the grilled vegetables to a plate.

Step 3: Seed the peppers and scrape off the charred skin; don’t worry about a few black specks of skin—they’ll add color and flavor. Remove and discard the toothpicks from the onion and garlic. Puree the tomatillos, peppers, onion, garlic, and cilantro in a food processor or blender until thickish but pourable (like the consistency of cream of tomato soup).

Step 4: Heat the lard or oil in a large saucepan. Add the tomatillo puree and cook over high heat until the mixture is thick, slightly darkened, and highly aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the stock and let the salsa boil until it is thick and flavorful, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the sugar. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste and more sugar as necessary; the salsa verde should be highly seasoned.

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Planet Barbecue!

The most ambitious book yet by America’s bestselling, award-winning grill expert whose Barbecue! Bible books have over 4 million copies in print. Setting out—again—on the barbecue trail four years ago, […]

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