Salsa Verde

Green tomato salsa. In Mexico, the two most popular sauces that can accompany just about every dish are salsa roja and salsa verde. There might be only two names for the sauces, but there are hundreds of recipes that vary from stall to stall. Both the red sauce and the green are vibrantly colored and packed full of flavor, and are great on a filled taco or tortilla. Salsa verde was my favorite of all the sauces that I tasted in Mexico City. You can alter the proportions of the ingredients to suit your taste. If green tomatoes are not available, choose the least-ripe tomatoes that you can find, for sourness.

Recipe courtesy of "Street Food: Exploring the World's Most Authentic Tastes" by Tom Kime, copyright 2007. Used by permission of Dorling Kindersley Limited. All rights reserved.

Salsa Verde

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    6 (unripe) green tomatoes 2 avocados
    1 onion 1/2 bunch parsley, coarsely chopped
    2 garlic cloves juice of 2 limes
    4 fresh green jalapeno or serrano chilies, seeded and finely chopped 2 tbsp olive oil
    1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped salt and freshly ground black pepper


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    • 1

      Cut the tomatoes in half. Scoop out the center core of seeds and place in a sieve over a bowl. Chop the flesh into a fine dice and set aside. Cut the onion in half, and grate the flesh so that you are left with a pulp. Set this aside also.

    • 2

      Cut the garlic in half and remove any green shoot from the center (this part of the garlic is bitter and can cause digestive problems). Chop the garlic finely. Using a large pestle and mortar, pound the garlic with the green chilies and a pinch of salt to make a smooth paste. Add half of the cilantro leaves and all of the onion to the paste. Still using the pestle and mortar, continue to pound until you have a coarse green paste.

    • 3

      Using a wooden spoon, push the tomato cores and their seeds through the sieve into the pestle and mortar, extracting all the juice. Discard the seeds and pour any juice that has collected in the bowl into the paste.

    • 4

      Halve, peel, and pit the avocado. Cut the flesh into 1/2 in (1cm) dice. Add the avocado and green tomato to the paste. Pound a few times so part of it is crushed and the remaining part remains as dice. Mix in the parsley and remaining cilantro. Mix in the lime juice and olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Check the seasoning. The avocado makes it sweet, the lime juice and green tomato add the sour element, and the green chilies and black pepper supply heat. The salsa should have a real tang and zip to it. Adjust the green chili content to suit your taste, if necessary.

    • 5

      Serve in a bowl or in a sandwich, or spread on steak, grilled lamb, grilled chorizo, or sausages. It is great with just about anything.

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