Salsa for Beginners: Un-Spicy Toasted Chile and Tomatillo Salsa

My husband is a big time chile-head just like Simran. Hot sauce is always on our table and at least half the shelves on our refrigerator door are devoted to bottles of Sriracha, Yank Sing Blean Bean Chili Pepper Sauce (my fave), Thai sweet chili sauce, every hue of Tobasco, Huichol and Tapatio even Portuguese Piri Piri and Malagueta Chili Sauce. [We ran out of Simran’s husband’s homemade sambal… more, please!]

Our older son is a mini-me of my husband when it comes to food so I predict that he will one day  follow in his dad’s footsteps when it comes to hot sauce too, although at the tender age of three he hasn’t quite crossed over to the spicy side yet. This salsa which we’ve been calling “un-spicy sauce” is a perfect introduction to salsa for future chile-heads and people with more mild tastes. It uses dried California chiles (dried Anaheim chiles) so you get the smokey, toasty flavor of chiles without heat. The tang from tomatillos makes it perfect on tacos, scrambled eggs, empanadas, roast chicken or as a dip for chips.

I have gotten totally addicted to this recipe and have been making batch after batch after batch. It keeps well in the freezer, so you can make a lot and freeze just the right amount for taco night. When I’m feeling extra-nice which happens every once in a while, I send a hot sauce valentine to my husband by pureeing in some canned chipotles in adobo (smoked jalepenos) and making a personalized spicy version just for him.

Un-Spicy Salsa (Charred Chile California and Tomatillo Sauce)

Adapted from Oaxacan Yellow Mole recipe from “Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen
  • 4 Dried California Chiles (these are the mild Anaheim chile in dried form)
  • 1 Slice of Onion, 1/2″ thick
  • 3 Tomatillos
  • 3 Plum Tomatoes
  • 5-6 Small to Medium Cloves of Garlic
  • Salt
  • Optional for Chile-Heads: Canned Chipotles in Adobo
  1. Husk and wash the tomatillos. Place them on a baking sheet (lined with foil for easier clean up) along with the tomatoes, garlic cloves (skin on), and onion slice.
  2. Place the baking tray under the broiler. Let the vegetables char on all sides. Check them every 5 minutes and turn them with tongs.
  3. While the vegetables are charring, remove the stems and seeds from the dried California chiles. Toast them briefly in a hot, dry pan. Submerge the de-seeded, toasted chiles in a bowl of hot water until softened. Place a plate on them to keep them submerged.
  4. Remove the peel from the charred garlic and add all ingredients, including the softened, drained California chiles to a blender. Puree until smooth.
  5. Taste and season with salt.

For chile lovers, puree a teaspoon of chipotle into the salsa. Add more chipotles a little at a time, pureeing between each addition, until you get to your desired spiciness level. I’ve learned the hard way, not to add too many right off the bat. You can always add more, but you can’t take them out once they’re added. 🙂

One thought on “Salsa for Beginners: Un-Spicy Toasted Chile and Tomatillo Salsa

  1. Pingback: Sunshine on Your Table: Our Favorite Jamaican Jerk Chicken | A Little Yumminess

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