Flavor of the Month for July 2014: Parsley. Parsley doesn’t get as much love as it should. It is a versatile herb with a fresh taste and peppery bite. It is definitely more than just a garnish, and this month we are exploring ways to help this herb live up to its potential.
I have to credit my best friend from college with helping me out of my mild-spice comfort zone. There might have been an incident where the shaker top came off of the chipotle I was shaking into our dinner, letting the entire contents of the jar fall into the quinoa I was making. He said it was the best dish I ever made. I couldn’t even swallow one bite.
After that dinner, he made it his mission to get me to try spicy food every time we were out together, and slowly, I started to appreciate a little heat in my food. I’m still no hot sauce fanatic. I am never going to embrace habaneros, scotch bonnets or ghost peppers. But a little kick is a very, very good thing.
And when a friend had an early surplus of jalapenos, what else was I going to do? Let someone else claim them? Never!
Since I had already obtained the peppers, when I was passing the small produce/ Mexican grocery on my way home, I saw that tomatillos were on sale. It was as if this sauce was calling to me. It wanted to be made!
I used parsley to avoid the “soapy” flavor that some people taste when they eat cilantro (even if it is one of my favorite herbs). This sauce balances the fresh, peppery taste of parsley and the sweet, bright taste of mint with the tangy tomatillo and the heat from the pepper. The charred skins add a layer of smoky depth to the sauce.
The sauce was a hit with the friends I fed it to with tacos – there wasn’t any leftover for me! I had to make it again for the cookout I was going to for the fourth, where it was equally successful.
I promise it is easy, and it will make you a star at your next cookout or potluck. You can even use it to make chilaquiles for an easy, make it look fancy, breakfast nachos kind of morning. (Just heat the sauce and tortilla chips in a skillet until they are warmed through and not mushy, top with a fried egg, queso fresco and any other toppings you might like – tomatoes, parsley, leftover green onions, radishes and maybe even bacon bits).
Without further ado – the recipe for this hot sauce/salsa verde.
- 2 fresh jalapeños
- 1 – 1¼ lbs (450-500 grams) tomatillos
- 2 spring/green onions, trimmed
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup mint leaves, lightly packed
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, lightly packed
- Salt, to taste
- Remove the papery outer husks of your tomatillos and discard.
- Heat a griddle or skillet on the stove over high heat (if you have a cast iron one, this would be best). When the skillet is hot, arrange the tomatillos and jalapeños evenly on the skillet. Turn them every couple minutes so that you char as much of the outside as possible. It took me about 20 minutes to get a good charring. Try not to squeeze the tomatillos as they start to soften – you want all those juices to make it into your sauce.
- You can either transfer them straight to your blender, or you can let them cool off a little bit. (Hot items in your blender require taking out the center part of your lid and covering it with a towel to prevent explosions). I’m inpatient and never wait. I do, however, like to chop off the stems of my charred peppers before adding them to the blender.
- In your blender, add your spring onions, garlic, cider vinegar, olive oil, mint and parsley. Add the charred tomatillos and jalapeños. Blend on high until you have a smooth sauce.