So, I decided to dust off my Molcajete (mortar and pestle) and make salsa. If you didn’t know Molcajete is an essential part of every Mexican kitchen that goes all the way back to the Aztec and Mayan civilization. I learned to use the molcajete before I learned to use the blender. Yes, I was just a kid. There are two part to this wonderful pre-Hispanic food processor, the molcajete which is the base and “la piedra” which is the pestle. Both made out of volcanic rock. Isn’t it so cool?
The food processor is just fine if you don’t have a molcajete. It is for sure a lot faster but there is something about using the molcajete that makes everything taste better. To properly use the molcajete you have to grind each ingredient starting for the firmer ingredient to the softest. In this case we start by grinding the garlic and finish with the tomatillos, the grinding motion releases the natural oils of your ingredients and adds a depth of flavor that you don’t get by using the blender or the food processor.
What you need to make Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
What you need to know before you make this recipe
Tomatillos are not green tomatoes. It is a much smaller and tart tomato that is wrapped in a paper like husk and unlike red tomatoes, you want them to be firm when you choose them.
Arbol chile is a very spicy pepper, if you are not big into hot salsas you can cut down to three chiles or even use jalapeños instead. If you choose Jalapeños roast them in the baking sheet with the tomatoes, onions and garlic and add grind them in the molcajete in the same order you would grind the arbol chiles.
I really love my molcajete and I’m not putting away again. You can find molcajetes at any mercado, antique store or even online. It is worth it, believe me.
Other recipes you might like:
Guajillo Salsa/Salsa de chile Guajillo. – Marisol Cooks
Grilled Chicken and Pork Carnitas Platter – Marisol Cooks
Dutch Oven Barbacoa – Marisol Cooks
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Molcajete)
- 6 tomatillos
- 1/4 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- vegetable oil
- 5 arbol chiles
- 1 lime
- small buch fresh cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the husk and rinse the tomatillos.
- Cut the tomatillos in half and place them on a baking sheet cut side down along with the onion and garlic cloves (you don’t need to peel the garlic at this time), drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.
- Place under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until the skin starts to brown. Once done, let them cool for a few minutes.
- While the tomatoes are cooling, place a small skillet on medium high heat and add 1 teaspoon of oil. Cook the arbol chiles stirring constantly, just for a couple of minutes until they get soft and fragrant.
- If using a molcajete: Grind one ingredient a time. Peel the garlic and add them to the molcajete along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, grind the garlic until a paste is formed. Next, repeat the same process with the arbol chiles, then the onions and finally the tomatillos until everything i. Some chunks are perfectly fine. Add the juice of half a lime and taste to adjust seasoning if needed.
- Add chopped fresh cilantro and stir the salsa with a spoon.
- If using a food processor: Add the tomatillos, onions, garlic and arbol chiles and pulse a few times until desire consistency. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the juice of half a lime and fresh cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Enjoy with your favorite chips.