After spending his career cooking in some of the best Mexican restaurants in both his native country and America, chef Roberto Santibañez has become an authority on both traditional and modern Mexican cuisine. In his new cookbook, Truly Mexican, he helps cooks master the building blocks of Mexican food: sauces. This recipe for roasted tomatillo salsa demonstrates how toasting dry ingredients creates a salsa with greater depth and serious spice. Serve this complex sauce spooned over grilled skirt steak, tacos or with a bowl of tortilla chips. The options are endless; the choice is yours.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Chipotle and Roasted Garlic
Recipe adapted from Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibañez (Wiley)
Yield: About 1 cup
Cook Time: about 40 minutes
½ pound tomatillos (about 5), husked and rinsed
3 chipotle mora chiles or 6 dried árbol chiles, wiped clean and stemmed
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
½ cup water
1. Preheat the broiler and place a rack approximately 8 inches from the heat source.
2. On a small, foil-lined baking sheet, roast the tomatillos, turning halfway through, until their tops and bottoms have blackened, they're a khaki-green color and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, warm a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chiles and garlic. Toast the chiles, turning frequently, until they're puffed and blistered in spots, about 4 minutes. Remove the chiles from the pan and continue roasting the garlic until it is tender and golden brown with some blackened spots, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, then peel the garlic cloves.
4. In a blender, combine the tomatillos with the chiles, peeled garlic, water and ½ teaspoon salt and blend until smooth. (The tomatillo seeds will still be visible.) Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. The salsa will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.