Tag Archives: mexican food

Return to Fiesta Salsa Verde

The thing about getting through this pandemic with any sort of grace, is having hope. For me, that hope has now come down to Cinco de Mayo and the prospect of a great excuse to drink margs and eat an irresponsible amount of avocados. Maybe I misplaced the irresponsible in this sentence, but regardless, this is an occasion worthy of preparation.  Let’s venture back to last Cinco de Mayo, which was on a Saturday and coincided with what was supposed to be Derby Day. Instead, it became a a sad early milepost to all the celebrations we would lose.

But this Cinco de Mayo will be different. It marks us clawing back at a social life.

Granted, it’s on a Wednesday which is kind of fitting, because long ago my inner circle determined Wednesday is the new Friday.

So let’s spend the rest of our month planning for it shall we?

First up, salsa verde. This is a super easy recipe that involves roasting tomatillos, onions and jalapenos then pulverizing them with a mass of cilantro (Nothing to see here, Sister B). The original recipe calls for olive oil, which tastes great but gives it a weird texture if you refrigerate it. I say bag the oil, but the recipe Gods say you’ve got the option.

I never ventured into tomatillos before, because the husks seem intimidating. They seem to say, “These are for other, more skilled people.” But it turns out, tomatillos are for this person! They’re tangy and kind of citrusy, so they’re even good raw, but amazeballs when roasted and salsified.

I came across this recipe after making an awesome and awesomely easy crock pot recipe of salsa verde chicken, that basically involved chicken and a jar of salsa verde. My friend loved it and wanted to make it for his mom who is on a low sodium diet, so we looked at the label on the jar and…no bueno!

Making salsa verde was the pro move here, and luckily it is totally easy. Easy seems like a great place to start for our Cinco de Mayo prep, so get yourself some tomatillos and let’s get this party started!

Fiesta Salsa Verde


12 oz. tomatillos, husked, washed, and halved
1 small white onion, quartered
2 jalapeños, seeded and sliced in half
2 tbsp.vegetable oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 c. cilantro leaves and tender stems (chopped up if your blender is not top notch)
1-3 tbsp. lime juice (depending on taste)
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil (totally optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Toss tomatillos, white onion, and jalapeños with vegetable oil on a sheet tray, and season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Roast until softened and charred in spots, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Transfer roasted vegetables, cilantro, and lime juice to a blender and blend while streaming in olive oil, until mostly smooth. Season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Serve with tortilla chips.

Serve with chips alongside quick easy cheap salsa or…. bake up a batch of baked salsa verde chicken (thinking it would work with tofu as well) or… press the big fat easy button and use it to smother chicken in a crockpot.

Next up…a review of our Bring It Fiesta basics. And yes, we’re starting with Hero Slaw!

Love the One You’re With Pineapple Salsa


A picture of restraint. Pineapple salsa with Taco Works chips, imported from San Luis Obispo, CA. At left, all the ingredients that did not go into it.

What? Don’t tell me you forgot it was Cinco de Mayo. True, having it fall on a Tuesday is just plain sad (see Marcharitas and weep). Sadder yet is that this is the very first time I realized my birthday day of the week syncs up with Cinco de Mayo. I’m not sure what that means, but it must have something to do with a cicada-like cyclical intensity of birthday season. Regardless, it’s tough to rally for a Tuesday.

BUT, we can get a little tropical and sassy with pineapple salsa. This came about because I had some leftover fresh pineapple from a pineapple avocado salad that I will share with you as soon as I sort out the spice thing. (Suffice to say, habañero and jalapeno are different animals.)

Making salsa is neither complicated nor precise, but it can be messy, especially when you are working with juicy fresh pineapple. The prospect of a sticky cutting board and floor made me turn to the food processor. While that made the pineapple more pulpy than chunky, it makes the finished product easier to eat. Bottom line: you can wrangle even more of it onto a chip, which is the entire goal when a good dip is involved. (See also Ollie’s Trip Salsa, mango jicama guacamole, balsamic black beans.)

Even thought the pineapple gets pulverized, the other key elements stay appropriately chunky so you feel like it’s salsa and not just sauce. I am pretty happy with this salsa for what went in to it, but also for what didn’t. I’m looking at you, mango, avocado, garlic and jicama. Just because I had every Mexican fruit and vegetable didn’t mean I wanted to make you all go get them. Finally, here is the very loose recipe for…

Love the One You’re with Pineapple Salsa

As the name suggests, this salsa is a consequence of what I had in the house. Don’t be shy—go with what you’ve got. LTOYW


  • ½ fresh pineapple (or less), cut into whatever slices you know how to make
  • ¼ red onion (or more if that’s your thing)
  • 1 small or part of a large jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 chunk fresh ginger, chopped (about 1 Tbsp)
  • A responsible amount of fresh cilantro (a healthy handful), chopped. Go with your gut on this. And if you hate cilantro (Beatie) grab some mint instead.
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (totally optional but it was there)


Put the pineapple in the food processor and pulse until all the big chunks are gone and it is the consistency you can imagine eating.

Pour the pineapple into a bowl.

Put the onion, jalapeno, ginger and cilantro in the processor and pulse until desired, edible consistency.

Scrape those veggies into the pineapple. Stir in syrup (if desired) and lime juice. Add salt to taste.

Enjoy with chips, on fish or chicken, on a sandwich, on a spoon…whatever. And while you’re staring at the jicama you didn’t use, cut that baby up and squeeze the other half of the lime over it so you have another thing to dip in the salsa. Happy Cinco de Mayo. May it make your Friday come all the faster!

Ollie’s Trip Salsa

Ollies trip salsa

La Salsa. Prepared and photographed by the chef. #nofilter, #yeah…right!

Happy Ocho de Mayo! I know, I know. You thought I forgot about the annual excuse for midday margaritas. Not on your life! I merely saved it for a day more conducive to celebrating. God knows there are enough margarita recipes floating around so I’m giving you a healthier gift. In fact, I’m not even the one giving it—my son Oliver is.

Two summers ago we sent the lad into the wilderness in a canoe for three weeks, and he came back knowing how to make his own salsa. Better yet, he knew how to make it by a campfire armed with nothing but a cutting board, a can opener and a knife. And the very best part was that he came back loving his homemade salsa. This from a kid, who, though good with roasted vegetables and the occasional carrot, had never previously eaten a raw tomato or pepper. “That was pretty much the beginning of my salsa eating career,” he reflects.

I love this recipe because it is easy and infinitely tweakable for individual tastes. Some of us would add more onion and perhaps jalapeno, or maybe some additional seasonings. Others might get crazy and add mango or even jicama. But this is a great place to start, will be appreciated at any gathering, might just get your kids eating veggies and, if you keep your pantry somewhat stocked, will set you free from store bought salsa forever.


1 red (or any color) pepper, finely chopped
I large clove garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes (preferable petite diced), lightly drained
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup (+/-) Niblets corn (it’s gotta be Niblets I’m told), drained
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped


Mix it all in a bowl. Enjoy it on chips, in burritos or by the spoonful, at home or by the closest campfire.

Note: Chop the vegetables as fine as your patience allows. Our early versions were decidedly large format, but a finer texture gives your awesome salsa more versatility.