Recipe courtesy of Lesley Tellez

Salsa Verde Cruda (Raw Tomatillo Salsa)

Green salsas run the gamut on Mexico City streets. They can be boiled, pea green and soupy; they can be charred and thick and ecked with blackened bits of tomatillo. They can also be astonishingly hot, which is why it's always good to ask the street vendor, "Cual salsa pica mas?" (Which salsa is hotter?) This is my favorite version of all: a raw, acidic, chunky puree that slices through anything fatty; I like to serve it with slow-cooked pork, crispy carrot tacos, tlacoyos, Mexican-style eggs and almost anything else.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 20 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Yield: about 2 cups
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Ingredients

9 fresh arbol chiles, or 4 to 5 serrano chiles

1 large garlic clove, peeled

10 ounces tomatillos, husked and rinsed (see below)

2 tablespoons cold water

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons diced onion

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, or more to taste

Juice of 1/2 large lime, optional

1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

1/2 medium Hass avocado, diced, optional

Directions

  1. 1 Chop the chiles and garlic roughly, and place in a blender jar. Blitz until mostly chopped. 
  2. 2 Cut the tomatillos in half and add to the blender jar with the water. Liquefy until the salsa transforms into a thick, chunky sauce. 
  3. 3 Pour into a bowl and stir in the onion and cilantro. Taste and see if you like it as is, or if you'd prefer more acidity or salt. If so, add the lime juice and taste again. Then stir in the salt and taste one more time, adding more salt, if necessary. Top with the avocado, if using, just before serving. 
  4. 4 Salsa (minus the avocado) keeps for about a week in a sealed container in the fridge.

Cook’s Note

VARIATION: To make another version of green salsa that's typical of street stands, blend the avocado with the onion and cilantro. Then taste for lime juice and salt, and blend again. COOKING TIP: As with every salsa in Mexico, it's really the cook's touch that gives it personality. Feel free to add more water if you want it thinner, and-even though some Mexicans probably wouldn't agree-you can even omit the salt, which creates a brighter, sweeter salsa that's almost like a relish. If you own a powerful blender, no need to chop anything first. Just toss it in the blender jar whole.

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