Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde


Of the things I miss most from America-land, proper Mexican food is pretty close to the top of the list.

I crave the staff lunches made by the Mexican woman who was a prep chef in a Denver restaurant where I waited tables. The dark, 20+ ingredient mole poblano, the spicy rice, the salsas, the fresh vegetables, the hot tortillas. It was fresh and clean and filling.


My eyes glaze over when I think about the road-side shops in Mexico where a $1.50 fish taco comes out of the kitchen as a piece of perfectly grilled fish perched on a handmade corn tortilla. The variety of salsas and pickles and sauces are what make the meal, as you build your own right at the table.

After a few years of Tex-Mex fast food growth, Sydney over the past 12 or so months has been the focus of a Mexican restaurant invasion. Very exciting, right? Wrong.

Expensive fit-outs with lots of contrived kitsch, expensive food with lots of contrived combinations to match. Very little true flavour – Mexican or Tex-Mex or otherwise. The critics are moaning “Is this trend over yet? What’s next?” when they should be instead demanding “When will someone get it right?”


I mentioned in my April In My Kitchen post about a fabulous range of salsas discovered recently – made by a Mexican-American, imagine that – but it is an expensive habit, and you know I like to make things myself.

So you cannot imagine how excited I was to discover tomatillos at a market recently. I should have bought more but on that day a single $5 bowl – weighing in at about 500 g on my kitchen scale – and a couple black-green jalapenos were enough to get me started.

Note to self, go buy more tomatillos asap, we’re out of salsa…




  1. says

    I will be looking for tomatillas when i go to the market this weekend! As someone who just ate their body weight in $1.50 tacos in California, I am keen to be able to replicate some authentic Mexican fare at home.

    • JJ says

      I lived on tacos when we were in the US and Mexico last year – have to make them at home to get a decent fix now!

  2. says

    JJ this is just what I need! My husband and I have been complaining about how hard it is to find good salsa (we’ve been sampling lots). You’re right about the Mexican food. Oh how I wish someone would get it right in Brisbane.
    I rather like my homemade versions though.

  3. Rae says

    This looks tasty. Though one thing I would like to point out is coriander and cilantro, though from the same plant taste different. Cilantro is the immature form of coriander and, imo, better for Mexican cuisine.

    • JJ says

      Thanks for the info Rae but in Australia the Cilantro is sold under the name Coriander (and the ground seed spice is also called Coriander) You will never find anything called Cilantro here!

  4. says

    This looks so yummy! I definitely need to get some tomatillos at the store…I’m missing my old house where I could grow them in the backyard!

  5. says

    JJ, thank you for this recipe. I tried it last night for a text mex evening with our friends. It went with our 1 meat dish for the fortnight… pulled pork and it WAS SENSATIONAL. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone. It’s spicy, people, but GREAT. I used one standard chilli instead of the 3 jalapeños and that worked fine. Next time (I know it might not be traditional) I’m going to try it with some fresh ginger in it.


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