Alibi V.18 No.12 • March 19-25, 2009 


Campfire Tomatillos

This weekend, on a testosterone-heavy desert camping sojourn, our friend Spencer enlightened us about a high school epiphany he once had: that Salsa Verde Doritos and a 20-ounce Coca-Cola are the "perfect combination" of flavors.

We're still not entirely sure what this means. But the comment did inspire us, when perusing the produce aisle, to embark on our own salsa verde fantasy. We bought a bag of ripe tomatillos, just starting to poke through their green husks, and lugged them out to the desert clubhouse we rented for the weekend. Once properly drunk and hungry, we gave these suckers a spin on the grill.

Tossed with good olive oil and grilled until they started popping, we blended our tomatillos with blackened peppers and onion and a touch of blood orange (in season right this instant). The result was a pleasantly familiar, tart sauce, somewhere between salsa and roasted green chile. We slathered the stuff on corn chips and ladled it onto steaming campfire beans.

Salsa Verde

Makes 2 cups


8-10 tomatillos
2 pasilla peppers
1 red onion
1 jalapeño
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed (about 1 cup)
Juice from 1 blood orange (a lime works, too)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1) Crank your outdoor grill to high. In a large mixing bowl, combine tomatillos, peppers, onion and jalapeño and toss well with olive oil. Once the grill is hot, throw all the veggies on and close the lid. Check every 3-4 minutes and turn as needed.

2) With tongs or a heat-resistant spoon, remove tomatillos one by one as they burst over the heat. Make sure to scoop them up, gently, before they lose their juice. Remove the rest of your veggies as they finish roasting.

3) Blend everything together with an immersion blender or in a Cuisinart. Add raw garlic, cilantro, fresh blood orange juice, and salt and pepper. Continue pulsing until smooth with no chunks. Serve with chips.

Soundtrack: Dinosaur Jr.'s Green Mind