A few weeks ago, while making Mexican food guru Rick Bayless’ black bean enchiladas, I wish I’d known about Julie Nirvelli’s salsa. I have my preferred brands of tomato-based salsa, but the recipe called for tomatillo, and I was lost.
Sold under the label White Girl Salsa, Nirvelli’s been making her recipe for years. It started in Los Angeles, where she was the token white girl living in a mostly Latino neighborhood. Whenever Nirvelli was invited to a local gathering, she’d cook down firm green tomatillos and blend in fiery chili powder. Her neighbors stamped it with their approval, officially dubbing it “white girl” salsa, and the name stuck.
Nirvelli’s original recipe is now White Girl’s mild variety, and she recommends serving it with chopped avocados, which, I can vouch, add a smoothness to the lime-y, cilantro-flecked sauce. She also makes a super-spicy hot variety and a cranberry-mango. The latter’s sweetness cuts the heat and is the favorite of my co-worker’s kids.