On Thursday night Chef Eamon and I finally had an opportunity to share the new Latin American cuisine concept that we have been working on over the past few months, with members from the Maines’ sales team at a pre-food show sales meeting. Which will be held at Turning Stone Resort and Casino on May 14-16. I can’t wait!! We discussed in great detail the five regions, (Mexico, South America, Central America, Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles) that this concept is built around. To cap off the meeting we presented a grand buffet of dishes from all five of these regions. We felt that our team members could experience first-hand the flavors and foods of these regions. The buffet was enjoyed by everyone and one item that stood out as a favorite was the Salsa Verde. Oh so simple, but so powerful.
So what do you think of when you hear the word “Salsa”? I assume probably some tortilla chips and dip, right? Well, that is an excellent way to serve this delicious “Sauce,” as it means in Spanish, but there are so many other menu opportunities that Salsa Verde can play an integral role in. Salsa Verde is a condiment with roots in Central American cuisine. Consisting of chopped tomatillo, Serrano peppers, cilantro, salt and lime juice, it is commonly added as a topping for tacos, burritos or quesadillas. However this green sauce is far more versatile and can be used in more interesting ways than as a simple dash of added flavor. The main ingredient in Salsa Verde is a tomatillo. The tomatillo is an edible berry, small and spherical, that it is erroneously called a green tomato; a husk tomato, a Mexican tomato and other names. It is a distant cousin to a tomato, but is more closely related to a cape gooseberry. The tomatillo is surrounded by a papery husk, which needs to be removed. Ripe fruit can be green, purple, red or yellow. This green sauce is common in Mexican cuisine. It can range in spiciness from mild to mouth-searing, depending on how many Serrano peppers you use. I have served this sauce as a dip, tossed it with boiled potatoes as a side dish and have used it to compliment grilled marinated flank steak. As I stated above it is a very versatile sauce that can be used both hot and cold. So this week when your Maines territory manager arrives at your restaurant, tell them that you want to “Go Green” with Salsa Verde.
Recipe by Chef Jake