Salsa Verde

Ah...Salsa Verde! Mexico's all-purpose condiment. There are few preparations that evoke the flavors of Mexico as perfectly as this homemade table and cooking sauce.

However you make it, fresh or with roasted tomatillos, chilies and garlic, this is sure to become a staple in your Mexican repertoire.

Salsa Fresca

Here is the first of two recipes, easy, quick, fresh and spicy, made the way mi suegra mexicana, my Mexican mother-in-law, taught me in her kitchen. All with uncooked ingredients direct from the market.

This salsa is good with everything! Chips, grilled meat or chicken, enchiladas, even as a base for salad dressing.


8 tomatillos
3 small green chilies
2 medium garlic cloves
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, more or less to taste
kosher salt
water, up to 1/2 cup


Peel and rinse the tomatillos. Chop coarsely. Remove the stems from the chilies. Peel the garlic. Wash the cilantro carefully and remove the leaves from the stems.

Place all in the blender, add a big pinch of salt. Pour in just enough water for the ingredients to liquefy. Add more water if needed but be careful not to let the salsa get too thin.

For a truly authentic preparation, instead of a blender use a traditional stone molcajete, similar to a mortar and pestle but with a rough interior service which is perfect for making salsa.

That's it! The sauce will keep well in the refrigerator for several days. But don't'll be gone by then anyway!

Note on spice. We like our salsa spicy, but the recipe we've given here is a little tamer. If you want to be cautious, begin with just one chile, then add more if you like.

Roasted Salsa Verde

Here's another version of green sauce which uses all the same ingredients but in a different preparation.

This sauce is an essential component of the famous enchiladas suizas, but serves equally well poured over grilled, roasted or braised chicken or fish.

It can even be used as a cooking liquid for any kind of meat, poultry or seafood.


Prepare all ingredients as above. Heat a heavy bottomed cast iron skillet or comal and slowly roast the tomatillos, chilies, and garlic until everything is brown all over.

Peel most of the browned surface off the tomatillos, but leave a good amount remaining on the chilies and garlic to give the finished sauce that distinctive smokey, roasted flavor.

Place all ingredients into the blender or molcajete. Continue as directed above. Again, be careful not to over-process the salsa.

You're gonna love it!

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