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Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa

This simple recipe from Rick Bayless's "Mexican Kitchen" needs only three basic ingredients. Add anything more than salt and sugar and you are gilding the lily. You can use dried chipotles or canned in adobo sauce. Serve with chips as an appetizer or spoon this smoky, citrusy concoction into or over any favorite tortillas, quesadillas or enchiladas. Salsa keeps several days in the refrigerator.

  • 4 to 6 dried chipotle chiles, stems discarded, or 4 to 5 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 6 large unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • Salt
  • Sugar (optional)

If using dried chiles, heat a dry griddle or heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add half the chiles and toast, pressing down on them with a metal spatula, until they start to crackle. Turn and toast the other side. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining chiles. Cover the chiles with hot water and let soften for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the chiles. If using canned chiles, simply wipe off the adobo.

Heat a dry griddle and toast the garlic, turning occasionally, until softened and blackened in spots about 15 minutes. Let cool, peel and roughly chop.

Meanwhile, heat the broiler. Spread the tomatillos on a rimmed baking sheet and broil for about 8 minutes, turning once, or until blackened in spots and softened. Let cool.

Scrape the tomatillos and any accumulated juices into a food processor or blender and add the chiles and roasted garlic. Puree until thickened and smooth. For a chunkier salsa, pulse the tomatillos and roasted garlic until coarsely pureed. Finely chop the chiles and add them to the tomatillo mixture. Transfer the salsa to a bowl and stir in 6 to 8 tablespoons of water so the salsa has a spoonable consistency. Season with salt, plus a little sugar, if you want to soften the tangy edge. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

"Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen"

Thursday, December 19, 2002

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