We all have been craving Mexican food and no, we are not talking Taco Bell, we mean some authentic Mexican flavors. This issue, I want to teach you one of the basic salsas — one that is very versatile (really versatile, not like some of you fibbers) — that will bring some flavor into your kitchen. However, there is nothing basic about this green salsa! With the right amount, you can make some for dipping or to add to that taco, use it to make some delicious green chilaquiles for breakfast, and for a fabulous dinner, why not some creamy green chicken enchiladas? Told you it was versatile.
Dipping or taco salsa (basic quantity)
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove
1/2 serrano pepper (this is all depending on your desired spice level)
Tomatillos naturally have a sticky coating that comes off when they are soaked in warm water.
In a small pot, bring a 1/2 cup of water, diced tomatillos, onion, garlic, and serrano pepper to a boil. After it boils, let it simmer in low heat for 5 minutes. After it simmers, turn heat off and set aside to cool down 10-15 minutes.
In blender or food processor, blend the ingredients with the chopped cilantro. You can determine how chunky or smooth you want the consistency. I like some slight chunk to my salsa.
Chilaquiles (makes 8 servings)
Double the quantity for basic salsa
1 package of fresh tortilla chips you can get at your local Mexican grocery store (not Tostitos, please) or quickly fried 1/4-sliced tortillas. You will need at least 20 tortillas if you decide to fry your own.
1 8-ounce container sour cream for garnish
1 8-ounce pack of Monterey jack shredded cheese for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
In 1 tablespoon of oil, cook the salsa, bring to a boil, season with a pinch or two of sea salt and a pinch or two of pepper. Add in small batches of the tortilla chips to the salsa. Let them soak up the salsa and soften a little.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and cheese.
For breakfast, you can add a sunny side up egg to top it off.
Creamy enchiladas (makes 25 enchiladas)
Double the quantity for basic salsa
1 8-ounce container of sour cream
Other ingredients for filling:
1 chicken breast, cooked and sheered
3 poblano peppers
3 cups of diced mushrooms
2 cups of corn
1 finely chopped garlic clove
1/2 cup of chicken broth
Preparation of filling:
First, char the poblano peppers. In a skillet, in high heat, place peppers to blister and char. After all sides have blistered, remove and place in a small plastic bag and put a damp towel over it to create steam inside the bag. (Let sit for 5-10 minutes to have all the blistered skin detach with the steam so it’s easier to remove.) Tip: To avoid getting some of the spicy heat on your fingers when you remove the skin and de-vein, put a couple of drops of cooking oil all over your hands (like lotion). This completely works to avoid keeping the spice from soaking into your fingers if there are any peppers that happen to have a kick. After this process, slice the peppers into thin, long slices (rajas).
In a hot pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil and cook chopped garlic till translucent; add chicken and slices of poblano peppers. Simmer and add mushrooms, add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and place a lid on it so it steams and simmers (you know it’s all good when the mushrooms turn a darker brown color). Add the corn and season with salt and pepper.
(For a vegetarian or meatless option, just don’t add chicken and use vegetable stock instead)
Preparation of sauce:
To our already-prepared sauce (you double and follow our basic recipe), add an 8-ounce container of sour cream and blend till smooth.
Preparation of tortillas:
You can either quickly fry each tortilla using a skillet and a 1/2 cup of oil, letting them rest in a paper towel to soak up excess oil. This step allows the tortillas to be more flexible when rolling them. But if you don’t want all the extra oil, you’ll have to warm up the tortillas so they’re soft.
Time to assemble:
In a large baking pan, spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread spoonful of sauce across the bottom.
To each tortilla, add a spoonful of filling and roll, stacking them next to each other. Spoon and roll. Spoon and roll. After all are assembled, cover them with sauce (yes, they will look like they’re drowning in sauce but remember, the tortilla soaks it up so you’ll want plenty to avoid drying them out). Sprinkle 3/4 of the package of cheese on top and cover the pan with foil paper. Pre-heat oven at 350 and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the foil paper and let cook for another 5 minutes so all the cheese on top gets melty and gooey.
Take out of the oven (be careful, it’s hot) and let them cool down. Don’t keep inside oven because the heat will dry them up.
Plate and garnish with some sour cream, extra cheese and some finely chopped cilantro.