My mother-in-law, Lina, makes the best salsa verde! It is so good in fact, it was one of the main reasons I began to change my opinion on Mexican food. Like I have mentioned before, Mexican food had always been at the bottom of my list of cravings, but once I married my husband, it became a necessity to find a way to bring it into my life; he grew up with it, and more importantly, he loves it. Also, living in Los Angeles, home to one of the largest Mexican populations in America, why not expose myself to the culture? Ongoing trial and error tastings have led me to a few fantastic foods. Lina’s “green sauce”, as my husband calls it, is one of my favorite discoveries.I didn’t know anything about salsa or Mexican food before I came to America in the late 80′s. This is how my (American) Mexican food knowledge progressed. The first traditional Mexican ‘dish’ I was exposed to was tortilla chips; the building block of my newly discovered favorite snack, nachos. These were not the good restaurant style nachos though, but rather their disgusting dorm cousin, made with microwaved cheese. I remember being so excited to be a part of the nacho culture, that when I went home for the summer, I brought a jar of Tostitos salsa with me so that my Japanese friends could taste a part of what they were missing. Their response, “Interesting…” Until about 5 years ago, I thought all salsa was red and came in a jar. Now, thanks to my mother-in-law, my world has expanded, and I can make both red AND green salsa.
The main ingredients in Lina’s green sauce are tomatillos–lots of them. I had never eaten a tomatillo, so when I first tried this sauce, it was a multi-sensory experience. Visually, it is a beautiful green color, and the cilantro gives it a fresh from the garden aroma. And the taste–Tomatillos retain their crunchness, so a little heat and garlic turns them almost into a spicy soup. As a matter of fact, my first few times trying it, I ate a half bowl of pure sauce, like soup, with nothing in it, just trying to figure out what made it so good. When Lina makes her sauce, it’s usually in a big batch, and we are always lucky enough to get one or two Tupperware containers full. Even though it’s good with pretty much everything, my husband uses it almost exclusively on eggs; replacing his normal ketchup. As for me, I still like eating it as a soup. Lina giving me her recipe was a delicious way of welcoming me into the family! Thanks Lina!