Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

Pico de Verde

MAKES: About 2 cups

TIME: 10 minutes

Super-fresh and perfect in summer. Tomatillos are more readily available these days than in years before (you may even find them in unusual colors, like purple). They’re most often sold with the papery husks still on; look for firm, unshriveled fruit with tight husks (be sure to rinse the sticky residue off before using them). If fresh tomatillos are not available, canned are okay.

Poblanos and some other fresh chiles have tough skins that are best removed. The easiest way is to char the skin, which has the added benefit of giving the salsa a light smoky flavor. You can, however, skip this step if you’re rushed.

2 medium poblano or other mild green fresh chiles

2 cups husked and chopped tomatillos

3 scallions, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic, or to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

If you like, roast and clean the chiles according to the directions on Peppers and Chiles. Mince the chiles.

Put the tomatillos, scallions, garlic, cilantro, and lime into a medium bowl with the chiles and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you’re serving immediately, taste and adjust the seasoning; or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days (bring back to room temperature and taste and adjust again before serving).


Green Tomato Pico de Verde. Good in fall, when green tomatoes are plentiful and cheap: Substitute green tomatoes for the tomatillos.

Chile Pico de Verde. Stronger, but not much: Replace the tomatillos with 2 cups chopped fresh mild green chiles, like more poblano or New Mexican; increase the minced garlic to 2 tablespoons; substitute parsley for the cilantro and lemon for the lime juice.

Pepita Pico de Verde. Easily made from the pantry: Replace half of the tomatillos with toasted pepitas. Serve immediately.

Corn Salsa. Distinctive and delicious: Substitute 2 cups corn kernels from Corn on the Cob, Grilled or Roasted, for the tomatillos.

J­cama Salsa. Very crunchy: Replace the tomatillos with peeled and chopped j­cama and substitute peeled and minced fresh ginger for the garlic. Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves. Let sit for about 30 minutes before serving.