How To Make Salsa Verde

11/02/2011 04:13 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012

Salsa verde is a green salsa commonly used to accompany meat or tortillas in Mexico. Chef Iliana de la Vega of The Culinary Institute of America makes her version with tomatillos, fresh green chiles, onion, cilantro, garlic and salt. To begin, she slices a thick piece of white onion and adds it to a blender, then takes 10 tomatillos out of their husks and rinses them. After cutting them in half, she adds them to the blender with the onion. She removes the stems from two jalapeños, then adds them to the blender as well. Next, she puts in a half clove of garlic and a healthy pinch of salt and blends. Once the texture is perfect -- no big chunks, but some texture remaining -- she adds about half a bunch of cilantro. (A good tip: Adding the cilantro stems down ensures the blender blades grab the bunch and pureé it well.) Once the cilantro is incorporated, the salsa is ready to eat.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Iliana de la Vega from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make a salsa verde.

Salsa verde is a green salsa that is made with tomatillos, a little bit of onion, some chiles - fresh chiles, like jalapenos or serranos - a touch of garlic, salt and cilantro.

The first thing we need is just a slice of white onion - that's what we use for Mexican cooking. A thick slice, almost the width of your finger, and we'll put it in the blender. Then we need tomatillos. Here is a tomatillo still in the husk; this is how you get them. To make it a little faster, these are already peeled and rinsed. You don't need to dice them or do anything special, just maybe quarter them, just like this. I'm using ten tomatillos for that slice of onion. (This is the third...) You can see, this is the main ingredient for this salsa.

From this recipe, we'll get one and a half cups of salsa. Here we have our ten tomatillos, and now let's go for the chiles. We just need to remove the stems; the rest of the chile will go in the salsa, seeds and everything. Let's do two chiles, right? Yes, I think I'm going for that. Now, be careful with the garlic; it can be overwhelming if it's too much. Just a small piece, maybe half a clove. See? And here, let's add a little bit of salt - not much!

Put the lid on the blender, and start it on low. Now we have here all these ingredients already blended, and we need the cilantro. Not much, but a good amount. This is important: put it in the blender with the stems down first - that way it will suck up right away. Put the lid back and blend again.

So, it looks really pretty. There's a little bit of texture, which you can perhaps see better now. In Mexico we use salsa just to accompany other things, like grilled meat, or even tortillas - that would be just fine. So this is how we make salsa verde, with a lot of texture, a lot of flavor, very fresh.

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