Tomatillo Chile Salsa Recipe

Strange husks and sticky fruit make some of the best salsa on the planet.
Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa

If you have tomatillos, onion, chiles and a food processor, you can make an awesome salsa.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Básico

Image courtesy of Básico

If you have tomatillos, onion, chiles and a food processor, you can make an awesome salsa.

Everyone knows what to do with a tomato, but the tomatillo—their smaller, greener, sweeter cousins—hold a bit more mystery inside those paper-thin husks. 

The Aztecs started plucking these little green guys off vines around 800 B.C. Today, they're both a common weed and culinary cornerstone in Mexico. 

Like tomatoes, tomatillos can start inside, love the sun and grow roots on their stems. Unlike tomatoes, they're not as heavy, aren't prone to pest problems or disease and also aren't self-pollinating, so they have to be planted in pairs.

Don't let those husks be a barrier between you and some of the best salsa on the planet. Just remove them—they're ripe when the husks start to split—and wash off the sticky fruit inside. 

"I grew up with this recipe for green tomato chile salsa in Texas and I love it for its simplicity and versatility. You can add it to any dish and it brings a new depth of flavor," says Bryan Lewis, owner of Básico restaurant in North Charleston, South Carolina.

According to Lewis, this recipe uses 'Verde Puebla', a traditional heirloom variety of tomatillos that are easy to grow, yield lots of fruit and have a long harvest season. 

Green Tomatillo Chile Salsa

Courtesy of Bryan Lewis, owner of Básico, North Charleston, South Carolina

Yield: 4-6 appetizer servings

  • 6 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed
  • Vegetable oil, as needed
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ¼ cup white onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a heavy skillet to high heat. Add vegetable oil and Serrano chiles with salt and pepper and cook until charred. 

In a food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth.

Chill and serve. The salsa is best served on the same day, but it can be kept covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Next Up

Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

This foodie spin on the Southern classic is worth the effort and a great way to make use of your first tomatoes.

Tomato Soup Recipe

Stir up memories with this delicious soup that is food for the soul.

Roasted Salsa

Perfectly blended flavors and fresh ingredients make this salsa a summer hit.

Caramelized Okra With Fresh Tomato Ragu Recipe

Tomato and okra is a favorite pairing: try this foodie variation on the classic.

Retro Recipes for Summer Tomatoes

Follow these vintage recipes for ideas on what to do with your summer tomatoes.

Tomato Cocktail Recipes: Drink Your Tomatoes!

Invite fresh tomatoes to your next cocktail party.

Tomato Peach Salad Recipe

Put your summer produce to good use in this delectable salad that makes your garden the star.

Homemade Tomato Jam

You say tomato, I say jam!

Great Paste Tomato Varieties

Choose these meaty varieties for making homemade tomato paste to add to your favorite recipes.

Garden Fresh Tomato Pie

Eat the season with a savory Southern classic.