Thursday, September 5, 2013

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

I celebrated a birthday this past week, and since I spent the whole day in the car on the way home from vacation, a home-cooked dinner of favorites just wasn't in the cards.  For something quick and easy, but dairy and gluten-free, we went to Moe's for the first time ever.  Everyone liked the food, and especially the many salsas! 

So, when I contemplated what to do with the mountain of tomatillos and peppers our garden was producing, I decided to try replicating the smoky spiciness of Moe's. 

The result may not have been just like theirs, but it was absolutely delicious!

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa
1/3 bag mesquite wood chips
6 cups tomatillos (hulled, and halve anything bigger than a ping-pong ball)
1/4 red onion (quarter through root end so the quarter you're grilling stays intact)
4-6 jalapeno peppers (or other favorite hot pepper)
2 + 2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch cilantro
2 cups fresh tomatoes
1 lime
2 teaspoons + 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon Frank's RedHot
Olive Oil

We stopped at Home Depot and picked up a bag of mesquite wood chips.  I dumped about 1/3 of the chips into a bowl and covered them with water. 

After about an hour (ok, two... I got distracted), I dumped off the water and put about 3/4 of the wood chips into an aluminum foil packet, into which I poked holes to allow the smoke to escape.

I heated the grill and threw the packet of wood chips on there (medium high heat) while I prepped the vegetables.

The tomatillos were peeled, and I halved the larger ones, quartered the onion, halved and seeded the peppers, and peeled 2 cloves of garlic.  Then I drizzled everything with some extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  I left a handful of tomatillos, 2 more cloves of garlic and all of the tomatoes out of the bowl for later.

Once the grill was heated, I realized I wasn't getting much steam/smoke out of the wood chip packet, so I cut a slit in the top and peeled back some of the foil, then I laid the veggies in a single layer on a grill pan, turned the heat to low, and closed the lid.
I let the vegetables get brown on one side (about 10 minutes), then I gave them a toss, moved the pan to the top rack and the smoke packet directly underneath, cranked the heat up a little and closed the lid again.

After another 15 minutes, everything was cooked down nicely.  I removed the veggies from the grill and put them in a bowl in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.  After they'd cooled down, and released a good bit of liquid, I drained everything and put it in the food processor.  I had to process it in batches, and then mix it all together at the end.  To the last batch, I added the remaining tomatillos and garlic, as well as the tomatoes, cilantro and juice of one lime.

Once it was all processed, I put it in a bowl and folded it together, adding in the last 2 teaspoons of salt, the cumin and Frank's Red Hot.  Then we let it chill again for a bit while we put some ribs on the grill over the still-smoking packet of wood chips.

This is one of the best salsas we've ever made, and the best part is that it is a great use for the tomatillos our garden is producing like crazy!


  1. This sounds amazing. I'm harvesting my tomatillos and jalapenos right now too. Have got to try this!

    1. Thanks! We enjoyed it. If you try the recipe, let me know how it turns out!