Adventures in Grilling: Make Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

It’s been 6 summers now that we’ve been eating every breakfast, dinner, weekend brunch  – and now lunch! – outside from from April through October. But last Summer, after several weeks of record-breaking hot days in June, Brad and I finally got ourselves a grill, and it changed everything. Although I value the art and taste of cooking over hot coals, we opted for a simple gas grill for convenience. We also don’t have air conditioning in our brownstone garden apartment, so it seemed the most efficient solution for moving the kitchen outdoors during the hot months.

This summer our lovely garden was off limits to us during some construction in June, so we really just started warming back up to the grill over the past few weeks. I recently took a look through my food journal (yes, I have a food journal where I write down recipes, menus and all sorts of other strange notes) to see what I was making at this time last year. At the top of a page I had scribbled “Adventures in Grilling” (and yes, I am a dork, but this also gives you a sense of my enthusiasm level), after which there were several pages of notes, no recipes, just a laundry list of the dishes Brad and I enjoyed during our Inaugural Grilling Summer. Highlights included:

  • Grilled Masala Chicken Skewers with Cauliflower, Mango and Sweet Peppers
  • Grilled Swordfish and Baby Artichokes with Lemony Mint Caper Relish
  • Grilled Pizzas, with a variety of toppings
  • Grilled Pork Tacos with Grilled Tomatillo Salsa
A recent summer night in Brooklyn: Tomatillo Salsa over grilled salmon, grill "roasted" potatoes and a green salad with radishes and cucumbers.

Now that last one is a real winner. Looking back, I know we were eating that tomatillo salsa like mad. It goes great with grilled fish (scallops are our favorite, although just the other night I served it with grilled salmon), chicken or pork. For some simple summer goodness, grab yourself some tortillas, fold in some grilled meat, top with the salsa, squeeze some lime over that business and let the juice run down your arms as you dig into some bad ass tacos.

*I recommend Hot Bread Kitchen’s handmade corn tortillas. They are incredible (and also available at the Park Slope Food Coop for a steal).

Tomatillos, ready for grilling

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

  • 4-6 tomatillos (depending on the size, right now they’re kinda small), halved
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 handful chopped cilantro

Grill the tomatillos and onions, cut side down (don’t turn them) until the tomatillos are tender and there are nice grill marks on everything. I like to throw the whole jalapeños on the grill too, turning them once or twice. In a food processor or blender, process the tomatillos, onion, jalapeños, garlic and lime juice to a course puree. Add water to thin if necessary, allow to cool and add the chopped cilantro at the end, just before serving.

*I put 2 jalepeño peppers in whole and it makes for some seriously spicy salsa. You could opt for 1, or slit them open and remove the seeds to take down the heat.

This salsa will get you going. And I hope to repeat some of those other gems and better document them this Summer. In the meantime, if you’re looking for grilling inspiration, check out this NY Times article from Mark Bittman. You’ll be surprised by how many different things that man throws on a grill. If you’re looking for taco inspiration, check out this article on Serious Eats and prepare to be hungry.

Bonus Points: Breakfast with Brad meets Reinventing Leftovers

We had leftover salsa, roasted potatoes, and some of those great tortillas. The next morning, Brad folded the potatoes into scrambled eggs and served them in warm tortillas topped with the tomatillo salsa. We call those breakfast tacos!

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