In early February I made a short trip down to Todos Santos, Baja California, MX, to visit my friend Donna who is the artist who works with the art-science fusion entomology course I teach in the fall. Donna has made quite a career out of doing ceramic public art in California and all over the world. A few years ago she bought property in Todos Santos and has built an artist commune of sorts where she has had an artist retreat for two years called Heaven on Earth. This is one side of the little apartment we stayed in and some other photos.
It was one of the most relaxing vacations I’ve ever had. We spent a lot of time doing art in the studio–I painted and Donna worked on ceramic pieces for a fountain she is building. I did a painting from start to finish in just 5 days! I don’t think I’ve done that since high school. It definitely makes me want to do it more often. (Below: my painting and Donna and me in front of a whale statue her son made.)
Besides art, we did yoga, ran a local 5K race, went dancing, drank coffee, and ate lots of tacos, huevos rancheros, and other things involving tortillas. One night we got tacos from the “restaurant” next door to her house and I made salsa verde for them. Ideally I would have used roasted tomatillos, but the oven wasn’t working, so I opted for a fresh tomatillo recipe. Honestly, the fresh version wasn’t as good as the green salsas I had down there, but it was nice and zesty and super simple to make. I’m looking forward to trying the roasted version whenever tomatillos are around this summer!
from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless
I wanted to make the roasted version of this salsa, but the oven wasn’t working, so I opted for the fresh version instead. I included both recipes here.
8 ounces (5 to 6 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
fresh hot green chiles, to taste (roughly 2 serranos or 1 jalapeno), stemmed
5 or 6 sprigs fresh cilantro (thick stems removed), roughly chopped
scant 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
Whether you choose the verdant, slushy, herby freshness of the all-raw tomatillo salsa or the oil-colored, voluptuous, sweet-sour richness of the roasted version, tomatillos are about brightening tang. The buzz of the fresh hot green chile adds thrill, all of which adds up to a condiment most of us simply don’t want to live without.
For the All-Raw version:
Roughly chop the tomatillos and the chiles. In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatillos, chiles, cilantro and 1/4 cup water. Process to a coarse puree, then scrape into a serving dish. Rinse the onion under cold water, then shake to remove excess moisture. Stir into the salsa and season with salt, usually a generous 1/4 teaspoon.
For the Roasted version:
Preheat a broiler.
Roast the tomatillos and chiles on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until darkly roasted, even blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side, 4 to 5 minutes more will give you splotchy-black and blistered tomatillos and chiles. In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatillos and chiles, including all the delicious juice that has run onto the baking sheet. Add the cilantro and 1/4 cup water, blend to a coarse puree, and scrape into a serving dish. Rinse the onion under cold water, then shake to remove the excess moisture. Stir into the salsa and season with salt, usually a generous 1/4 teaspoon.