The Heart of Ardent

The Heart of Ardent: Salsa Verde

No Ardent Pictures meeting or script read through is complete without coffee and a nibble, and though there have been morning meetings with bagels and cream cheese and fresh fruit, people seem to get happy when I cook. So here we are, sharing another recipe from Mexico with you, as we continue to work there with fellow independent artists…

Mexican salsas have traditionally been made using the mortar and pestle, molcajete, though many people now use blenders. The Mayans also made salsa using a mortar and pestle.

You’re probably familiar with salsa roja, “red sauce”, as it’s common in both Mexican cuisine and that of the US Southwest. It’s usually made with cooked tomatoes, chili peppers, onion, garlic, and fresh cilantro.

Pico de gallo, “rooster’s beak”, also known as salsa fresca, “fresh sauce”, salsa picada, “chopped sauce”, or salsa mexicana “Mexican sauce”, is made with some combination of raw tomatoes, fresh lime juice, chili peppers, onions, cilantro leaves and other coarsely chopped raw ingredients.

Salsa verde is “green sauce”, and in Mexican versions it’s usually cooked, with tomatillos.

Tomatillo* Salsa/Salsa Verde:
approximately 1 pound fresh tomatillos
3 fresh serrano chiles
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
Olive oil, as needed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
approximately 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
approximately 1/4 cup chicken broth — or more as needed


  1. Preheat the broiler or oven to 550 degrees F.
  2. Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse under warm water to remove any stickiness you might feel. Place the chiles, garlic, onion and tomatillos on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Season with a little olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste. Place on the rack a couple of inches away from the heat and cook until softened and slightly charred, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn them once during that time.
  3. When cool enough to handle, peel the garlic and pull off the tops of the chiles. Place the broiled ingredients in a blender along with the fresh cilantro, and puree. Pour in 1/4 cup of chicken broth and blend to combine. Add more broth, if needed, for desired consistency.

*Note: Tomatillos are a small green fruit that have a tissue papery husk. They should be used when they’re still green, before they’re ripe and the husk has gone brown. Before using them in a recipe, remove the husk, rinse and dry the fruit. They do not need to be seeded. Tomatillos can be found in most supermarkets in Canada and the US.

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