I’ve mentioned a time or two that I’m from Logan, Utah and I know we have a lot of readers with Cache Valley ties. Which means we probably have at least one thing in common…because it’s virtually impossible to visit, let alone live in Logan without visiting El Sol at least once. And if you’ve eaten at El Sol, I’m sure you’ve eaten their chips and salsa. And if you’ve eaten their chips and salsa, you’re probably wondering WHY I’m bringing this up on my blog.
My family ate out a lot when I was growing up, especially after my mom died. And before Logan started really growing, our dining options were pretty limited–Fredrico’s Pizza, Angie’s, The Lofthouse Cafe (they had killer burgers and fries, although I’m pretty sure we were the only people who ate there who didn’t also have a naked ladies calendar hanging in their garage), The Factory, Mandarin Gardens, and, of course, El Sol. And we ate at El Sol a lot. Like first-name-basis a lot. Really, it was my only exposure to Mexican food, so I didn’t know that real salsa doesn’t use ketchup as its base. Note: before anyone flames me, let me say that I have nothing but the fondest memories of El Sol and I will admit that while their salsa is notoriously not good, it is strangely addictive.
Imagine my surprise when new Mexican restaurants moved into town with their fresh ingredients and fancy green salsa. At first I didn’t want to try it because I thought it would be too hot and because, well, it was green. But pretty soon, I was a convert. I love the tanginess of the tomatillos and freshness of the cilantro.
Because tomatillos taste a little, well, raw (plus SUPER tangy), I toss the tomatillos in some extra-virgin olive oil and roast them to take the edge off and add a little sweetness, but I add fresh cilantro and chopped green onions to keep that fresh flavor.
They only roast for about 15 minutes–enough time to do something productive like a load of dishes (or less productive, like a few games of Doodle Jump on my phone). When they’re done, they need to cool for just a few minutes, but they cool off super fast. Just transfer the roasted veggies to your blender jar and add some fresh lime juice, salt, and pepper and pulse it until it’s as smooth (or not) as you want it.
After you’ve blended the salsa, transfer it to a serving dish and stir in some chopped cilantro and chopped green onions.
Yumminess. And fat free. And almost calorie free. Well, except for the chips. Can’t beat that, right?
So what else could you do with it?
–Try it in Sara’s Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing in place of the bottled green salsa (which, by the way, will never taste good to you again after making this recipe).
1 small yellow or white onion, peeled and quartered
1 jalapeno pepper (if you’re worried about heat, remove the seeds and membranes; I do and it’s the perfect heat for me), cut in half lengthwise
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1/4-1/3 c. chopped green onions
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
After husking the tomatillos, rinse them well in cool water (they can be sticky). Cut the stems and hard portions (if any) off the tomatillos and cut any very large ones in half.
Combine the tomatillos, unpeeled garlic, onion, and the jalapeno on the lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss the ingredients with your hands to make sure they are all well-coated.
Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. If the vegetables have not charred, turn the broiler on to high and cook for 3-5 more minutes or until the skins of the peppers and tomatillos begin to turn black. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
When the vegetables have cooled, carefully squeeze the skin of the roasted garlic, releasing the soft, roasted garlic clove, into the jar of a blender or workbowl of a food processor. Add the remaining roasted vegetables and then add the salt, pepper, and lime juice. Process until the desired consistency is reached and then transfer to a serving dish. Stir in the chopped cilantro and green onions and serve with chips.