My favorite Mexican restaurant in the United States is actually nowhere near Mexico. It’s on the East Coast actually, and has the most wonderful margaritas. Rosa Mexicano, found both in Washington D.C. and in New York City, has Roberto Santibanez at the helm, a Mexico City native. The food is fresh, spicy, simple and has none of the heavy, greasy cheese or slimy beans found at many places that call themselves “Mexican” here in the U.S.
When I saw that Santibanez had put out a cookbook, I couldn’t resist. Rosa’s New Mexican Table has recipes for all kinds of salsas, sauces, moles. Truly irresistible!
I started this week out with a tomatillo and chile morita salsa. This isn’t a raw salsa and the original recipe uses chile pasilla, but I had chile morita, so I improvised. The result is a smoky, spicy sauce with wonderful nuanced flavors. Perfect for serving with chips, on top of tacos, with grilled chicken. Honestly, I could put this on (nearly!) everything.
The recipe calls for cleaning, roasting, de-seeding, de-veining and soaking the chiles. It’s time consuming, but quite worth it.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Dried Chiles
1 lb of tomatillos, dehusked, washed and halved
about 1 cup of chiles (you can use dried chipotles, dried moritas, dried pasillas — experiment!)
1. Drizzle a little olive oil onto a saute pan and heat it up. Place the tomatillos in the pan and roast until their skins turn brown. Remove from the heat and set aside. Clean the pan.
2. Clean the dried chiles with a damp towel. Using a paring knife, make a slit down the center and take out the veins, seeds and the stem.
3. Throw the chiles onto the pan and roast until the skins start to turn black. Remove from the heat and place into a bowl.
4. Cover the chiles with water and soak for about 20 minutes. Drain and put into a food processor.
5. Add the tomatillos to the food processor and a dash or two of salt. Process until smooth.
Note: I always use gloves when handling chiles to avoid skin irritation!