As much as I love making salsa with ripe red heirloom tomatoes, I have to confess that the flavors of freshly harvested tomatillos combined with the right ingredients makes Salsa Verde my very favorite above all else. Salsa Verde simply means green salsa in Spanish.
I've made this salsa using green tomatoes and it is good, but it just isn't the same as when made with tomatillos. When you live as close to the Mexican border as we do here in SE Texas and because of the Mexican population, you find yourself having sampled many dishes prepared traditionally by the Mexican people. Even at that us Texans seem to find the need to twist a recipe just a tad to change it ever so gently in order to turn down the heat. This is where the term Tex-Mex comes from.
Tex-Mex holds true even in the Mexican restaurants throughout our state.We have thousands of them and their culinary expertise knows how to cater to the cravings of Texans. I've always found it strange that in most of the restaurants that they actually serve very little of anything containing hot jalapenos. If you were to ever sit and eat with a native Mexican you find out quickly that they are all about those peppers! Whole peppers and on the side and every way possible to include them with their meal to be exact.
So, needless to say, this is exactly what I've done when making this Salsa. I guess most Texans like their food a little spicy, but we love ours hot. But of course not so hot that you wouldn't enjoy it! This is where you will find that I do not remove the seeds from my jalapenos or any other pepper at that when I can. The seeds bring in the heat, so if you can not take it by all means remove them.
You can also turn down the heat even more by adjusting the amount of peppers that you use. You must know that the jalapenos I've used are huge. One pepper turned lengthwise is nearly as long as my pint size jar. So the size of your pepper, the heat of the pepper and the seeds will make a huge difference in your recipe. I always suggest to start with a few less peppers to start. Once you taste your salsa before canning it up you can always at that point add more peppers if you like.
My Salsa Verde comes out perfect and closer to traditional Salsa than most recipes. Most people want to add Cilantro to their Salsas. Although we really enjoy Cilantro here as well, I don't believe it belongs in the actual Salsa. It really belongs in some freshly made Pico De Gallo served as a side dish to be spooned on the top of your dish by the individual eating it. The Pico De Gallo is a fresh Mexican type of salad that consists of raw diced onions, tomatoes and freshly diced cilantro. I like to squeeze a little fresh lemon and add a pinch of white wine vinegar to my Pico..
What really belongs in the Salsa instead of the Cilantro is freshly ground Cumin. This is the spice used most for traditionally made Salsa Verde and it makes all the difference in the world to the Salsas exuberant flavor. So here we go....enjoy!
Makes 6 Pints (with a little extra for the fridge)
10 large hot Jalapenos
1 large onion
4 to 6 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. canning salt
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 large juicy lime fresh squeezed
This one is very easy!! Simply clean and chop everything and put it all in a stock pot. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for about 1/2 an hour. Stir frequently to ensure nothing is sticking or burning to the bottom of the pot. This also helps blend everything very nicely. Add it to the blender or food processor a little at a time and pulse just a little. It is best when still just a tad chunky and not to liquefied. Taste it at this point to see if you would like to adjust the salt or the heat. I was very please with it just as it was. Ladle into hot sterile jars, clean rims, add lids and screw bands. Process in hot water bath for 20 minutes.