Roasted tomatillo habanero salsa! Ready for tacos! Are you still to intimidated to try fresh habanero peppers in some of your salsa recipes? I will be honest and tell you that I have encountered serranos and jalapeños that have been hotter! This is not always the case, but it does happen. Habanero peppers pair so well with the tartness of the tomatillos in this recipe. And who doesn’t enjoy some fresh oranges with spicy chile limon seasoning? The added fresh orange juice and lime juice make the tomatillo salsa extra zesty. You will not be able to stop at one chip! We grew up with mostly green tomatillo salsa prepared at home. The red version was the one you would see at the Mexican carniceria(meat market) ready for purchase. Until one day we put one and one together and figured out how to prepare it at home.
I actually developed this recipe a few years ago, and finally thought I should re-visit the recipe, prepare it again so that I could update the photos. I had one old photo and was surprised on how popular it is on Pinterest right now.
Roasted Tomatillo-Habanero Salsa
- 10 to matillos
- 2 habaneros
- 6 chile California or guajillo peppers dried
- 4 cloves garlic leave skins on
- Juice of 1 orange
- Juice of 1 lime
- Remove the seeds and stems from the dried chile California. Transfer to a pot of simmering water. Cook at a steady simmer for 10 minutes. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Preheat a heavy skillet or saute pan to medium heat. While the pan is heating, remove the husks from the tomatillos and wash off. Lay the tomatillos, garlic and habanero peppers in preheated pan, drizzle with a little oil. Cook for the next 15 to 20 minutes, turning as needed. Remove the garlic after 15 minutes, so it doesn't burn. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Drain the water from the dried chiles, transfer to the blender, along with all remaining ingredients,removing the skins from the garlic and stems from habaneros. Add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt,blend until smooth, taste for salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Note:You can also roast the veggies in a 400 degree oven or on an outdoor grill.I prefer to roast mine on the stove top because I think you get more of a smokey, roasted flavor.
To see the original photo and recipe on my blog for Roasted Tomatillo Habanero Salsa, click SALSA !
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Susan H Michaels
beautiful pictures Sonia!
Thank you Sue!! Miss You! Hope all is well!
I just want to tell you that your blog is probably THE BEST I have found on the internet for authentic Mexican cooking. I lived in Mexico for 20 years and miss the authenticity of the dishes here in Texas. Do you have a book or ebook available yet? Thank you for your wonderful website!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Eva!!!! I so appreciate your kind words! I don’t have a book available yet, but hoping to be working on one real soon! Thanks for following along.
We have a huge crop of beautiful habanero peppers in our front garden, and I’ve been looking for recipes to put them to good use. I’m not (yet) a fan of tomatillos, but I’m trying to develop a taste for them, so I decided to give this a shot.
The verdict – highly addictive. My wife and I are in the process of eating an entire batch with some corn chips, “just one more bite” at a time. It hasn’t even cooled down from the stovetop yet.
To me, the defining characteristic of this salsa is its tartness. If you like flavors like lemon, vinegar, or the suddenly-popular sour beer, you’ll love this. I’d be inclined to say that this salsa is limey, but it only has one lime in it. My guess is that the predominant tartness is coming from the tomatillos, only because I can’t attribute it to another ingredient and I don’t know the tomatillo flavor well. Does that sound right?
This leads me to another question: should I roast (or boil, as I see upon re-reading the recipe) the tomatillos until they’re entirely olive colored, with no bright green left?
Mine got soft and olive colored around the charred spots where they were sitting on the skillet, but much of their mass was still brighter green and firmer in texture (its hard to roast the round edges without them rolling back onto the tops or bottoms). It could be that the pungent tanginess in our batch is due to under-cooked tomatillos. Or maybe this is the intended flavor.
Heat-wise, with two fresh habanero, I’d say this is medium; my wife says its hot. The heat is warming and pleasant, not assaulting like a raw habanero. I think you could scale it up or down by one pepper to suit your audience.
My only other comment is that there are noticeable remnants of the dried chili skins in the finished product. Perhaps I need to blend more? Or, maybe I can scrape the flesh off of the skins after rehydrating and discard the latter? It’s not a dealbreaker, just noticeable.
Overall, this salsa is a keeper. I’ll definitely make it again, and use it as a base for experimenting with other ingredients. Thanks for posting the recipe!
Hi Michael! First of all, I am thrilled to hear that you tried the tomatillo salsa recipe despite that they are not your favorite. The tartness definitely is coming from the tomatillos in the recipe. When I cook my tomatillos this way, I do prefer they turn olive almost all the way, but without having the tomatillo burst open on me. Since I posted this recipe a few years back on the Hispanic Kitchen site, I have learned so much more about cooking with tomatillos. These days 99 % of my cooked and blended salsa recipe, I will cook after blending at a low simmer for at least 10 minutes. This cooks out any remaining raw ingredients and it also keeps the salsa from congealing when stored in the refrigerator overnight. You could most certainly blend the salsa more if the skins of the peppers were an issue. I sometimes let the dried chiles soak overnight so they will soften even more before blending. But you could actually blend the chiles with some of the cooking water and then strain through a wire mesh strainer before blending with the tomatillos. I too, have a problem when there are too many skins in my salsa. I purchased a vitamix blender this past year and that thing leaves no skins behind! Lol! As far as the amount of habaneros in the recipe, it’s one of my most popular recipes online. You are actually the first that mentioned te heat level. It really is intended to be a spicy salsa, but I know I should always suggest adding less for a milder salsa. I forget and just assume everyone enjoys the heat like I do, lol! Sorry. I will make a note on the recipe though. I truly appreciate your feedback! Thank You!
I just made this salsa today. The flavor is great but it is hot. Maybe to hot for me. I will give it an honest try when it cools to room temperature. I had never cooked a tomatillo before and had trouble with them. Is there a proper way to cook them?
Habanero peppers are pretty spicy.Why did you have trouble cooking the tomatillos?
I’ve made this recipe three times now and it has been a hit every time! Thank you! I’ve experimented a little with it to adapt to my tastes. I like it to have a kick so I used three habanero’s and used Guajillo chiles (I love the smokiness and extra kick these give). I’ve also added a couple medium tomatoes in with the roasting tomatillos, I’ve found these add some additional richness and sweetness to the sauce.
Hi Frank! I appreciate your feedback on the recipe. I love that you are making the salsa your own. That’s the whole idea. Get in there and mix it up! Love it!
I just made this salsa and it came out great! It’s funny, when I tasted it right after blending I didn’t like it. I felt that the citrus completely overpowered the other ingredients, but after letting it sit and cool for a bit the flavors melded quite nicely. This is definitely a keep!
Hi Brandon, you are right. It needs time to sit. I think most salsas are best at room temperature. Thank you for the feedback!
Wow! This is my favorite salsa recipe now! It’s got great warmth but doesn’t burn your mouth out, and the blend of tomatillos and guajillo and habanero creates a wonderful flavor.
Question: Do you think it is safe to can this freshly made salsa to store in the pantry, or must you eat it all within days? Thanks!
I am sure it would be fine if you canned it. I don’t see why not.
Hi! I just made this recipe and it tastes phenomenal but is pretty watery. How would you suggest thickening? Thanks!
You could add a few more tomatillos or back off on the amount of juice. You could also simmer the salsa for 10-12 minutes to thicken it up. It will last longer in the refrigerator if you cook it too.